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The Learned ^Me 


Q-ustavus S. Taine 


New York Established 1834 

Copyright /pj?<? by Thomas Y. Crowdl Company 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be 

reproduced in any form, except by a reviewer, 

without the permission of the publisher. 

Designed by Laurel Wagner 

Manufactured in the United States of America 
by the Vail-Ballou Press, Inc., Binghamton, New York 

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 5^134$$ 


Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following: 

To the Bodleian Library, Oxford, to the British Mu- 
seum, London, to the Lambeth Palace Library, and to 
Cambridge University Library for information and copies 
of original manuscripts. 

To the American Historical Society, New York, to the 
Folger Library, Washington, and to Yale University Li- 
brary for the use of source materials. 

To the library of Union Theological Seminary, New 
York, and to the rare book room of the New York Public 
Library, for valuable aid in research. 

To Miss Margaret T. Hills of the American Bible So- 
ciety, New York, for the loan of illustrative prints. 

To the National Portrait Gallery, London, for the por- 
trait of Bishop Bancroft. 

To Dr. Frederic C. Grant of Union Theological Semi- 
nary for comment on the Bois notes. 

To the Public Trustee for the Estate of Bernard Shaw, 
and to the Society of Authors, London, for permission to 
quote from the preface to Adventures of the Black Girl 
in Her Search for God. 

And to Wanda Willson Whitman, the friend who has 
been associated with this book from the very start. It was 
she who suggested the original idea, nourished it with her 
interest and encouragement, and, when the author was no 
longer here to complete his work, edited the manuscript 
with skill, integrity, and affection. 


What good can it do us to know more about the men who 
made the King James Bible and about their work on it? 
Just how did these chosen men revise the Bible from 1604 
to 1611? Who were these men and what were their careers? 
Were they happy in their labor? Did they live with success 
after they finished it? How did it affect them? How does 
the King James Bible differ from Bibles before and after 
it? Could a group or groups turn out better writing than 
a single person? These are some of the questions I aim to 
answer in this volume. 

The King James men were minor writers, though great 
scholars, doing superb writing. Their task lifted them 
above themselves, while they leaned firmly on their sub- 
jects. Many have written in wonder about what they 
achieved. I quote here only from one ardent man with 
Bible learning, and from one who admired the product 
while he scorned ways of worship. 

Dr. F. William Faber: "It lives on the ear like a music 
that can never be forgotten, like the sound of church bells, 
which the convert hardly knows how he can forego* Its 
felicities often seem to be almost things rather than mere 
words* It is part of the national mind and the anchor of 
national seriousness. The memory of the dead passes into 
it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped in 
its verses. The power of all the griefs and trials of a man 

[ vii ] 

is hidden beneath Its words. It Is the representative of his 
best moments; and all that there has been about him of 
soft, and gentle, and pure, and penitent, and good speaks 
to him for ever out of his English Bible." 

H. L. Mencken: "It is the most beautiful of all the 
translations of the Bible; indeed, it Is probably the most 
beautiful piece of writing* In all the literature of the world. 
Many attempts have been made to purge It of Its errors and 
obscurities. An English Revised Version was published in 
1885 and an American Revised Version In 1901, and since 
then many learned but misguided men have sought to 
produce translations that should be mathematically ac- 
curate, and in the plain speech of everyday. But the Au- 
thorized Version has never yielded to any of them, for It 
is palpably and overwhelmingly better than they are, just 
as it Is better than the Greek New Testament, or the 
Vulgate, or the Scptuagint. Its English is extraordinarily 
simple, pure, eloquent, and lovely. It is a mine of lordly 
and incomparable poetry, at once the most stirring and the 
most touching ever heard of." 

One of its great virtues Is that it allows and Impels us 
to put any part of it Into other words, into our words, 
that we may get glimpses of more meanings from it and 
then turn back to it with more delight and profit than 
ever before. The King James men surpassed us in these 
respects, that they were scholars, and that they had Eliza- 
bethan command over language. At the same time they 
were like us, of the people, earnest, and at the bottom 
sweet and sound. We surpass them In our wide modern 
range of words. At present many urge us in all sorts of 
projects to "do It yourself/' I hope that as you read about 
these men and what they did you may feel the urge to 
create the Bible afresh for yourself, to revise the phrases 
in any way you please, and then to compare your wordings 
with what we have so long deemed our standard Scriptures, 

[ via ] 

Thus you may keep the Bible alive for yourself, really be 
active as you read and study it, and be at one with the 
learned men, those common people who gave us their 
splendid best. 

L '* .1 










9 HOLY WAR 87 








Hampton Court 

"May your Majesty be pleased/' said Dr. John Rainolds 
In his address to the king, "to direct that the Bible be 
now translated, such versions as are extant not answering 
to the original." 

Rainolds was a Puritan, and the Bishop of London felt 
it his duty to disagree. "If every man's humor might be 
followed/' snorted His Grace, "there would be no end 
to translating." 

King James was quick to put both factions down. "I 
profess/' he said, "I could never yet see a Bible well 
translated in English, but I think that of Geneva is the 

These few dissident words started the greatest writing 
project the world has ever known, and the greatest 
achievement of the reign of James I the making of the 
English Bible which has ever since borne his name. The 
day was Monday, January 16, 1604. The scene was the 
palace at Hampton Court, with its thousand rooms built 
by Cardinal Wolsey and successfully coveted by Henry 

King James was new to the English throne but his reign 
In Scotland had already brought him experience of re- 
ligious differences. Those more than political consid- 
erations divided the people who thronged the roads and 
cheered the new king on his way from Edinburgh to 

London. Most urgent of the many pleas received during 
the royal progress was the Millenary Petition of the Puri- 
tans, called so because it had a thousand signers, a tenth 
of the English clergy. "The fantastical giddy-headed Puri- 
tans/' wrote the Archbishop of York to the Bishop of 
Durham, "are very eager that they may be heard/' 

Another religious faction, the English Roman Catholics, 
had sent from France a petition for more freedom. The 
king could overlook the Catholics, but the Puritans had 
been gaining ground for a generation and their demands 
were specific. They opposed Sabbathbreaking and the 
keeping of other holy days, baptism by women in their 
homes, display of the cross in baptism, bowing at the 
name Jesus, and other practices considered high church 
or popish. 

James's answer was to call a meeting to talk about what 
was "pretended to be amiss" in the churches. Because the 
plague was making havoc in London, where it was to 
kill thirty thousand, the meeting was first postponed and 
then set for Hampton Court, a safe distance from the 
plague-ridden city* 

In the huge rose-red brick palace hard by Hounslow 
Heath, with its stone gargoyles, twisted chimneys, mul- 
lioned windows, and cloistered walks, the king and his 
friends had reveled since before Christmas. For more 
guests than the thousand rooms could hold, tents stood 
in the superb gardens and the broad deer park. In De- 
cember it was too cold and foggy to enjoy the tennis 
courts, the tilting ground, the bowling alleys beside the 
swift, chilly Thames* Even James, reared in the cold of 
Scotland, wore so many clothes that his weak legs could 
hardly bear the burden. But there was hunting with bows 
and arrows to warm the blood, and there was sport enough 
indoors, what with dancing, drinking, and heavy meals 
cooked in the long brick ovens. 

Fireplace heat was a comfort to those near it. Those 

away from it endured what the English called a frowst, 
of about sixty degrees. The air must have been heavy and 
stale for there is no record of baths in the palace, though 
the court used perfumes and pomanders and the king 
kept his hands soft as sarcenet by never washing them, 
merely dipping the royal fingers into bowls of attar and 
other balms. 

For the entertainment of the court, Shakespeare's actors 
performed plays for a fee of twenty gold nobles for each 
day or night, with an extra tip of five marks from the 
king. After Christmas, in a masque called "The Twelve 
Goddesses" staged by Inigo Jones, Queen Anne and eleven 
maids of honor took part. They wore their hair down 
and many thought their gauze costumes scandalously sheer, 
although the queen wore over hers a blue mantle em- 
broidered in silver with the weapons and engines of war. 
Flutes and viols played sweetly. Francis Bacon was present 
at this performance. The gay season, as brilliant as any 
in Elizabeth's reign, immediately preceded the parley 
about church matters. 

Instead of asking the Puritans to send men of their 
own choice, James and his advisers named just four, 
among them John Rainolds, whom we may justifiably call 
the father of the King James Bible. President of Corpus 
Christi College at Oxford, Rainolds was called the most 
learned man in England. With him to Hampton Court 
went Laurence Chaderton from Cambridge, who with 
Rainolds was to become a translator of the new Bible, 
and two other Puritans who were to have no part in it. 
The four were not admitted to the meeting until its 
second day. Confronting them were a group of fifty or 
sixty high churchmen, the lords of the council, deans, 
bishops, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, rich 
old John Whitgift, though he was not far from death. 

The place of meeting was the king's privy chamber, a 
large room in Henry VIIFs state suite on the east side of 

the clock court. 1 The chief speakers were Richard Ban- 
croft, Bishop of London, Rainolds, and the king. 

James, at thirty-seven an old young man who sputtered 
because his tongue was too large for his mouth, came in 
and said a few kind words to the lords, and sat down in 
his chair which was somewhat removed from the cloth 
of state. Prince Henry, ten years old, sat near his father 
on a stool. The king took off his hat when he thanked 
Almighty God for bringing him into the promised land 
where religion was purely professed. 

When Rainolds' turn came, some said that he spoke 
offhand of the new Bible, amid much talk of other matters. 
He stressed four points: that the doctrine of the Church 
might be preserved in purity according to God's word; 
that good pastors might be planted in all churches to 
preach the same; that the church government might be 
sincerely ministered according to God's word; that the 
Book of Common Prayer might be suited to more increase 
of piety. 

Though these points were hardly disputable, the meet- 
ing got into odd wrangles over lesser concerns. The Puri- 
tans, though not so much Rainolds, opposed wedding 
rings. James, who spoke of his queen as "our dearest 
bedfellow/' said, "I was married with a ring and think 
others scarcely well married without It." James had a good 
time with jokes; when Rainolds, unmarried, questioned 
the phrase in the marriage service "with my body I thee 
worship," the king said, "Many a man speaks of Robin 
Hood who never shot his bow; if you had a good wife 
yourself, you would think that all the honor and worship 
you could do to her would be well bestowed." Rainolds 
won his laugh later when, In the argument against 

*As George II altered this part of the palace, no one can now see the 
spot where Rainolds stood when he proposed the translation. The best 
account of that day was written by William Barlow, Dean of Chester, who 
also was to become a translator. 

Romish customs, he said, "The Bishop of Rome hath 
no authority in this land." 

Though all tittered at this remark, the king himself, 
like Rainolds and many others present, had been born 
in the Church of Rome; the faith the king defended was 
less than a century old. For all his solemn and flippant 
talk, James had really but one devout belief in king- 
craft. Though Sir Edward Coke heard him say at the 
trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, "I will lose the crown and 
my life before I will alter religion/ 1 the crown was his 
reason for being, and he had experienced enough ex- 
tremes of religion to know there could be no easy defini- 
tion of it. In Scotland he had turned from Romanism 
despite the fact that or perhaps because his mother 
was a Catholic. But in his homeland he had also known 
too much of Presbyterianism and rabid Calvinism. Perhaps 
he meant it when he said stoutly enough, "I will never 
allow in my conscience that the blood of any man shall 
be shed for diversity of opinions in religion/* But he did 
allow such bloodshed, in an era still bloodstained. After 
all, James was the son of Mary of Scotland, who helped 
bring about the death of his father, and he owed his 
throne to Queen Elizabeth, who had given the word to 
behead his mother. 

To make up for that tragic past he had now to 
maintain his own divine right as king, sitting among men 
who, though they knelt to him Bancroft kept falling 
to his knees, and even old Archbishop Whitgift knelt 
argued among themselves over matters about which he 
knew and cared little. As the day wore on, more and more 
points of difference came up. 

John Rainolds impugned the policies of Bishop Ban- 
croft and urged that "old, curious, deep and intricate 
questions might be avoided in the fundamental instruc- 
tion of a people/' Oddly, in view of his own historic 
position, one of Rainolds' complaints was about the role 

of books. He was against freedom of the press because 
youthful minds must be protected. "Unlawful and sedi- 
tious books might be suppressed, at least retained and 
imparted to a few, for by the liberty of publishing such 
books so commonly, many young scholars and unsettled 
minds in both universities and through the whole realm 
were corrupted and perverted." Why should anyone read 
what is clearly wrong? Rainolds was for an elite to tussle 
with the hard sayings while the masses stayed calm, 
humble, almost dormant. Here the king was nearer 
modern thought and told Rainolds that, in taxing the 
Bishop of London that he suffered bad books, he was 
a better college man than statesman. 

Bancroft for his side denounced the Puritans to his 
Majesty as "Cartwright's scholars" their leader Thomas 
Cartwright had just died "schismatics, breakers of your 
laws; you may know them by their Turkey grogram." 
At the meeting the men of the Established Church of 
course wore their proper habits of office while the four 
Puritans showed their disdain for churchly garb by appear- 
ing in plain coarse fabric gowns. The Cartwright reference 
was serious because Cartwright had been the boldest of 
those who stormed against bishops; he thought the Church 
should have only elders. Worse, he thought the Crown 
should be under the Church. James knew well that the 
Church, with all its bishops, must be under him. 

Rainolds was Bancroft's target because, it may be, Ban- 
croft was loath to gibe at Chaderton, the other effective 
Puritan, who was his lifelong friend. Many of the learned 
men had long known each other. England at that time 
had only a few million people and ten thousand clergy, 
and friendships among scholars were widespread. Rainolds 
and Chaderton had gone to Cambridge together, and in 
a Town and Gown brawl Chaderton had saved Bancroft's 
life, nearly losing his own right hand to do so. Of the 
other two Puritans present, Thomas Sparke sat and said 

nothing while the fourth, John Knewstubs, "spoke most 
affectionately but confusedly/' 

The royal ire rose first at Rainolds, though later the 
king learned to endure him. With his own party Rainolds 
lost some esteem because they considered that, awed by 
the place and the company and the arbitrary dictates of 
his sovereign, he fell below himself. But the king made 
his angry opposition clear. Sir John Harington, the genius 
who invented the privy, was present and wrote to his wife 
that "the king talked much Latin and disputed with Doc- 
tor Rainolds, but he rather used upbraidings than argu- 
ments. . . . The Bishops seemed much pleased and said 
his majesty spoke by the power of inspiration. I wist not 
what they mean, but the spirit was rather foul mouthed." 

As the crossfire increased and the meeting got rougher, 
perhaps the king saw that a diversion was wanted and 
seized upon Rainolds' one acceptable proposal to heal 
the breach. Or perhaps James, who thought of himself as 
a gifted Bible student, was sincere in seeing the need for 
a new translation even though the idea was advanced by 
the wrong side. Elizabeth before him had given some sup- 
port to those who wished to see the Geneva Bible sup- 
planted. James himself as a young man had tried his hand 
at making verses from the Psalms, and had written a com- 
mentary on Revelation. 

The English people were Bible readers. Even before 
Wycliffe's Bible, the first in English, had enabled those 
who could read to know the Scriptures, early pieces in Eng- 
lish had gone from hand to hand. The Wycliffe transla- 
tion from the Latin text of the Vulgate was the foundation 
of Protestant thinking in England, its survival under ban 
and circulation in manuscript copies proof that the new 
Church was based upon a religious revolution and not 
merely the whim of a king determined to have a divorce 
the Pope forbade. An English Bible was one to be read by 
the common people. Educated men, high churchmen and 


university scholars and royal persons, not only read Latin 
easily but wrote and spoke it with ease. Their private 
prayers, not merely those of the Church, were in Latin; 
so were addresses to the king. As a boy in Stirling Castle, 
the young James who would grow up to be king of both 
Scotland and England complained that they tried to make 
him learn Latin before he knew Scots. The tongue of the 
Church was useful as a common language for visitors from 
foreign lands, provided they were of the educated class. 
But the same class distinction kept the common folk who 
knew no Latin from reading the Bible. 

William Tyndale was first to undertake a printed Eng- 
lish Bible. Having studied under the great Erasmus at 
Cambridge, he began translation of the New Testament 
from the original Greek and not the Latin translation. At 
first he hoped to get help from the Bishop of London, but 
Henry VIII and his bishops were not yet willing to let the 
people read. In 1524 Tyndale went abroad, a virtual exile, 
first to Germany where he saw Luther at Wittenberg and 
made arrangements to have his New Testament transla- 
tion printed at Worms, using funds given him by a Lon- 
don merchant. 

Proscribed by Henry VIII, the first English New Testa- 
ment to be printed had to be smuggled into the country, 
and what copies could be seized by the authorities were 
burned. At Marburg, Germany, Tyndale proceeded with 
Old Testament translations, and with books that set forth 
Reformation doctrines. Henry VIII meanwhile, although 
he had left the Roman Church, demanded that Tyndale 
be returned to England to be punished for sedition, Tyn- 
dale remained on the Continent but at Antwerp in 1535 
he fell into the hands of Emperor Charles V, who thrust 
him into a dungeon near Brussels. He was shortly sen- 
tenced as a heretic, and died at the stake. His last prayer 
was, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes." 

Not all the Tyndale New Testaments were burned, and 

enough of them reached England, beginning in 1526, to 
make it certain that one day there would be an English 
edition. In 1535, the year of Tyndale's death, Miles Cover- 
dale edited and produced on the Continent the first com- 
plete English Bible, based on Tyndale, the Vulgate, and 
Luther's and Zwingli's translations. As Coverdale was a 
diplomat, he dedicated the book to Henry, and had no 
trouble with English publication. However, the Coverdale 
Bible was popularly known as the Bugs Bible because of its 
reading of Psalm 91:5: "Thou shalt not nede to be afraid 
of any bugges by night/' Two revised editions appeared 
in 1537, carrying "the King's most gracious license." 

Still another Bible, more closely related to Tyndale's 
pioneer work than Coverdale's, appeared in 1537 the so- 
called Matthew's Bible. This Bible also obtained a royal 
license and in a large folio edition published in 1541, 
called the Great Bible, was read in churches. But the house- 
hold Bible of the English people was the one produced 
at Geneva in 1560, mainly translated by William Whitting- 
ham, who married Calvin's daughter. Its popularity was 
due in part to its size it was small enough to hold, while 
the church Bibles measured more than fifteen inches long 
and nine inches wide. Aside from its size, the Geneva Bible 
found favor among the followers of Calvin and Knox, but 
others found fault with its marginal notes and also with its 
wording. It was called the Breeches Bible because its read- 
ing of Genesis 3:7 was "and they sewed fig leaves together, 
and made themselves breeches." 

At the time of the Hampton Court meeting, most Prot- 
estants, especially the Puritans, still read and defended 
the Geneva translation. In slurring it, James may have 
thought to balance his agreement with Rainolds by net- 
tling them. Yet at least one rampant Puritan, Hugh 
Broughton, the famous Hebrew scholar, had called for a 
new Bible. As for the bishops, fifteen of them, as far back 
as 1568, had worked on a revision in the Bishops' Bible. 

They had failed, however, to win royal sanction for their 
version, known as the Treacle Bible because it asked in 
Jeremiah 8:22, "Is there not treacle in Gilead?" 

James's real reason for objecting to the Geneva Bible 
was rooted in his need to feel secure on his new throne. 
Some of the marginal notes in the Geneva version had 
wording which disturbed him: they seemed to scoff at 
kings. If the Bible threatened him, it must be changed. 
Away with all marginal notes! And indeed if you read them 
in the fat Geneva volume you will find many based on 
dogma now outworn. James may have had some right on 
his side; he was far from witless. 

So clever indeed was his handling of the meeting that, 
although he gave the Puritan pleaders no satisfaction and 
actually threatened to harry them out of the land, he ap- 
peared to some observers to lean toward them. Indeed, the 
dean of the chapel said that on that clay the king played 
the Puritan. 

For their part the Puritans, with outward meekness and 
inner grumbling, found grace to yield enough to stay well 
within the Church of England. Yet after all the talk ended, 
it seemed they had won nothing. Indeed there was only 
one gain: the new Bible. 

Having spoken, James went on about his royal business, 
which had nothing to do with translating Scriptures. At 
Royston, not far from Cambridge, he was converting a 
priory mansion and two old inns, set in six hundred acres, 
into a royal shooting box. Royston he came to esteem be- 
yond all places for the hunting of hares, rabbits, partridges, 
bustards, and plovers. But the king hunted at Newmarket 
too, where also there was horse racing. When he had to 
return to town for the first Parliament of the new reign, he 
occupied the new royal apartments in the Tower of Lon- 
don and there, in the Lion's Tower, the king watched three 
dogs set upon a lion, which tore two of them apart. 

Time to decide about the Bible had to be found between 


these duties and pleasures, but the king knew how to dele- 
gate power. As soon as James showed approval of Rainolds' 
proposal, the ambitious Bishop Bancroft suppressed his 
own adverse thoughts and prepared to carry out the royal 
will with zeal and dispatch. Robert Cecil, who had served 
Elizabeth, served James as well; James called him "my 
little beagle" and made him Lord Salisbury. With Cecil, 
Bishop Bancroft talked things over and chose the men to 
work on a proposal, perhaps casually broached, which the 
royal will had now raised to a splendid design. Tyndale's 
prayer was now answered in full: James I had ordered 
what Tyndale died to do. 

Fervent for what his master wished, Bancroft wrote to 
an aide: "I ... move you in his majesty's name that, 
agreeably to the charge and trust committed unto you, no 
time may be overstepped by you for the better furtherance 
of this holy work. . . . You will scarcely conceive how 
earnest his majesty is to have this work begun." 



The King James Bible came about partly because forceful 
men thought they could use the project to further their 
private aims. In London, when the plague abated, old 
Archbishop Whitgift caught cold going from Lambeth 
Palace to see Bishop Bancroft at Fulham. Next, dining at 
Whitehall, he had a stroke and on the last day of February, 
1604, he died. This was Bancroft's opportunity for promo- 
tion to the archbishopric, and he seized upon it with eager 

Of the ways to win James's approval, the new Bible 
might well be one. The task would certainly employ many 
of influence within the Church; among those present at 
Hampton Court on the clay Rainolds made his speech were 
half a dozen William Barlow, John Overall, Thomas 
Bilson, Thomas Ravis, Richard Edes, and Lancelot An- 
drewes well able to grapple with the work. Good church- 
men all, they toadied to James yet got along with Rainolds 
and his Puritan supporters. 

In the summer of 1604 Bancroft was busy writing to the 
other bishops to announce that the king had "appointed 
certain learned men . . . for the translation of the Bible/' 
and to ask that others be nominated. The bishops were 
required to inform themselves of all men learned in the 
Bible tongues within their districts. The king wanted to 
know of all who had "taken pains in their private study 

of the Scriptures," who could clear up places that were 
obscure in the ancient texts, and correct mistakes in former 
English versions. The bishops would report their findings 
to Mr. Lively, "our Hebrew reader in Cambridge, or to 
Dr. Harding, our Hebrew reader in Oxford, or to Dr. 
Andrewes, Dean of Westminster/' Thus the translation 
would have the help of "all our principal learned men 
within this our kingdom." 

When learned men had been appointed to the number 
of four and fifty, it became necessary to think about pay- 
ing them. Of the fifty-four, some had no preferred places 
in the Church, or else had "too little for their deserts." 
Since the king could not "in any convenient time" give 
them more, he asked Bancroft to inquire about any vacant 
prebends 1 or livings worth twenty pounds a year or more 
which might be saved for the learned men. The king 
would reserve for one at work on the Bible any vacant 
office within his own gift; the Archbishop of York and 
the bishops in the metropolitan see of Canterbury, which 
still had no head since the death of Whitgift, were asked 
to do the same. Bancroft's reward was royal authority to 
write letters, surely a sign of preferment to come. 

But the king wanted more learned men, even after he 
had named the fifty-four, and the handing out of livings 
alone would not suffice to pay them. In a letter to the 
Bishop of Norwich written on the last day of July, 1604, 
Bancroft had to propose that the prelates and clergy sub- 
scribe to the cost of the new Bible. The king, he said, was 
ready to bear "from his own princely disposition" the 
charges of some learned men, although it was only too well 
known that the Crown was hard up. Bancroft prayed his 
brethren the bishops, and each single dean and chapter, 
to give. "I do not think," he wrote, "that a thousand marks 

1 A prebend was that part of a church's income granted to a canon or 
member of the chapter as his stipend. Twenty pounds then would in pur- 
chasing power equal a thousand dollars or more now. 

will finish the work." A mark was about two-thirds of a 

Although Bancroft added that he would acquaint the 
king with how much each gave, the bishops, deans, and 
chapters showed no quick zeal in sending money. In fact, 
it seems fair to say that the scheme fell through, for noth- 
ing further of it has come to light. Bancroft's estimate of 
costs must have been far too low. The scholars struggled 
along on their own means, though Oxford and Cambridge 
and Westminster seem to have given them free board and 
room when they were at work. 

Of the three named to receive the reports of bishops and 
deans in the search for learned men, two, Lively and Hard- 
ing, were Hebrew scholars at the two universities. Dr, 
John Harding, the rector at Halscy near Oxford, had been 
proctor of the university and in 1608 he was elected presi- 
dent 2 of Magdalen College by a unanimous vote. The 
unanimity suggested a recommendation from the king, as 
one of the awards promised translators. But Magdalen had 
seethed with unrest since the days of Elizabeth, and the 
vote of confidence in Harding coxild have been a protest 
against the policy of his predecessor, put in at the queen's 
request "to reform late decays and disorders/ 1 That elec- 
tion had been far from unanimous, in a college regarded 
as a "nursery of Puritans" in its objections to vestments 
and ritual. Harding's election marked a return of the 
Puritans to power, and during his two years of administra- 
tion many "poor scholars" were admitted, the admission 
of commoners being part of Puritan policy. 

Edward Lively, who for nearly thirty years had held the 
regius chair of Hebrexv at Trinity College, Cambridge, was 
a man of all work he had to be, to survive. Born about 
*545 h studied Hebrew at Trinity under the noted John 
Drusitus, and married Catherine, daughter of Thomas 

* President, provost, master, or warden all were used as titles for the 
heads of various colleges. 

Larkin, M.D., who occupied the regius chair of physic. 
She bore him thirteen hungry children. 

Then as now, the rewards o college teaching consisted 
largely of the feelings of well-doing, honor, and hope. To 
feed the family, Lively eked out his earnings with hack 
writing; the publisher Samuel Purchas said that he was 
one of his anonymous writers for his great series of His 
Pilgrims. In 1597 Lively signed and published A True 
Chronology of the Times of the Persian Monarchy,, a work 
written in a quaint but hardly graceful style. Although 
it contained a random speculation about the nature of the 
locusts eaten by John the Baptist, it had little connection 
with the Bible. 

Not even by his writing efforts could Lively make a liv- 
ing for his household. Once he sold his precious books to 
a bishop for three pounds. The most forlorn of all the 
learned men, the one for whom we may feel most sorry, 
he was never clear of suits at law or other disquieters of 
his study. He once had his goods distributed and his cattle 
driven off his ground, like Job's; he 'led a life which in 
a manner of speaking was nothing else but a continual 
flood of waters," and even "his deer, being not so well able 
to bear so great a flood as he, even for very sorrow, pres- 
ently died." Clearly his was a "lamentable and rueful" 
case, though such was the lot of many a scholar in England 
at that time. 

Perhaps Lively's troubles made him patient; in contrast 
with most scholars, he was said to be a humble man who 
often suffered the foolish gladly. By the time the king made 
him a sort of drudge in the Bible task, his greatly burdened 
wife had died, leaving him eleven surviving offspring. 
Surely he needed preferment in accordance with the plan, 
and on September 20, 1604, he must have been grateful to 
get the living at Purleigh in Essex, fairly near to Cam- 

The third member of the committee to sift recommen- 

dations, and the most Important, was very different; he was 
the Dean of Westminster, supreme in the affairs of the 
abbey and subject to no higher prelate. Dr. Lancelot An- 
drewcs had been among the highest of the high churchmen 

at the Hampton Court meeting. Now he was to become 

the real head, or chairman, of all those chosen to revise 
the Scriptures. 
Andrcwcs was a man for all to like, and one whose fame 

has lasted. There are over a million words by and about 
him in print, and a volume of his sermons has lately been 
reissued. For the Anglo-Catholic he is almost a saint; T. S. 

Eliot wrote an essay, "For Lancelot Andrewes." Among 
the churchmen who were to translate he was the strongest, 
but the most graceful and polite, foil to the Puritans. 

He was born in the London parish of All Hallows, Bark- 
ing, in 1555. A contemporary biographer wrote that his 
father, Thomas Andrewes, was a merchant who for most 
of his life "used the seas/' Lancelot went early to the 
Coopers' free school at Ratcliff, and then to the well-known 
Merchant Tailors* school. "From his tender years," the 
biographer testified, "he was totally addicted to the study 
of good letters/' Andrewes "studied so hard when others 
played that if his parents and masters had not forced him 
to play with them, all the play would have been marred/* 
As a young scholar at the university, "he never loved or 
used any games of ordinary recreation, either within doors 
as cards, dice, table chess, or abroad as hats, quoits, bowls, 
or any such, but his ordinary exercise and recreation was 
walking, either alone by himself or with some other se- 
lected companion, with whom he might confer or argue, 
and recount their studies/* Once a year, before Easter, he 
walked the thirty miles home to Barking from Pembroke 
College, where Sir Francis Walsingham helped in his sup- 
port. One of the friends with whom he walked and talked 
was Edmund Spenser. 

Did Spenser affect at all the writing style of Andrewes, 

and through him that of the King James Bible? To such 
questions there can be no present answer. We do know 
that later Francis Bacon, his friend for twenty years, asked 
Andrewes' advice on writing. And we know that the great 
poetry of the age was all around the scholars as they worked 
on the Bible, was in their thought and feeling, and quick- 
ened the flow of their language. 

Though he was no Elizabethan Wordsworth, Andrewes 
observed and loved the tamer kinds of nature: "He would 
often profess that to observe the grass, herbs, corn, trees, 
cattle, earth, water, heavens, any of the creatures, and to 
contemplate their natures, orders, virtues, uses, was ever 
to him the greatest mirth, content and recreation that 
could be/* This penchant for common nature showed in 
his own writings and perhaps through some Bible passages 
in which he had a hand. 

On his walks along the highways from Barking to Cam- 
bridge Andrewes must have seen the rogues who had long 
wandered there, the tinkers and peddlers, the wild home- 
less boys, the rufflers or holdup men and beggars, the 
minstrels singing and selling coarse ballads, the vagrant 
former soldiers. About these, pamphlets by Thomas Dek- 
ker and others, most of them with second-hand knowledge, 
appeared while the work on the Bible went on and may 
have helped Andrewes and the other translators cope with 
the scriptural censures of evil people. 

After he finished his courses at Pembroke, young An- 
drewes became the catechist, giving lectures on the Ten 
Commandments at three o'clock on Saturdays and Sun- 
days. People came to hear him from other colleges and 
from the country round about; they made notes and passed 
them on to friends. Thus samples of his early lectures are 
still extant* 

On the command to make no graven images, Andrewes 
said, "Though God the law-maker appointed the repre- 
sentation of cherubim and of the brazen serpent, yet may 

not man presume to devise the like; he must take such 
resemblances as God himself gave him, and not of his own 
invention propound any." Unless of course, he added, God 
should direct him as He directed Moses. 

Of "Thou shah not take the name of the Lord thy God 
in vain/' Andrewcs spoke to distinguish between oaths and 
vows, and between those necessary and those voluntary. 
He dealt with swearing in a later sermon. Throughout his 
logic was clever, like that of the earlier schoolmen; and to 
the words of Scripture, though of course he believed them 
all, he applied what he thought was a divine common sense, 
He knew for instance that certain work must proceed on 
the Sabbath, and made strenuous effort to reconcile the 
Decalogue with the law of nature which, he said, was the 
image of God, Thus of killing he found that beasts have 
no right of society with us, because they lack reason. It 
cannot be a sin to use them for the end for which they 
were ordained: the less perfect for the more perfect, herbs 
for beasts and both for man. In the Bible God ordered a 
lot of killing, so to Andrewes it would have been foolish 
to say that God forbade the taking of any life. 

Of the commandment to honor father and mother, he 
said we should all know what honor is and where it is due. 
God had not made all men alike, but made some partakers 
of His excellence and set them in superior places, others 
after a meaner degree and set thorn in a lower place, that 
society might be maintained. Did God create men equal? 
Surely not. 

After Pembroke, Andrewes was chaplain to his patron 
Walsingham and to Archbishop Whitgift; and later rector 
of St. Giles in London's Cripplegate. In 1586, when he was 
only thirty-one, he was made one of the ttvelve chaplains 
to Queen Elizabeth, who loved having young men around 
her. She found Andrewes humane, cordial, gracious, be- 
nign, and took delight in the grave manner of his preach* 

Of this preaching there are varied reports. One said that 
he was an angel in the pulpit. T. S. Eliot said he took a 
word and derived the world from it, and ranked his ser- 
mons with the finest English prose of their time or any 
time. Yet some of his contemporaries said his style was 
jerky, with too much word play, too many conceits, quirks, 
puns. He was learned but did play with his text as a jacka- 
napes does, who takes up a thing and tosses it. Witty, he 
was sometimes satirical; yet Thomas Fuller said that he 
had a guileless simplicity both of manner and mind, an 
unaffected modesty and a rare sense of humor. 

We have Andrewes only on paper; in action he must 
have had a charm of delivery that we fail to find in the 
printed words. A biographer who had been his secretary, 
Henry Isaacson, said that God blessed his painful preach- 
ings; painful, in those days, meant taking pains. 

Besides preaching Andrewes loved to manage. In 1589 
he became Master of Pembroke Hall, where he managed 
to pay off the college debts and have a surplus. Such capa- 
bility would be useful in directing the Bible work. 

Andrewes also loved teaching and when in 1601 Eliza- 
beth made him Dean of Westminster, he often took charge 
of the Westminster School in his own person. The young 
students were his special care. "What pains Dr. Andrewes 
did take both day and night. . . . He did often supply 
the place both of the head school master and usher for 
the space of a whole week at a time, and gave us not an 
hour of loitering from morning to night. ... He caused 
our exercises in prose and verse to be brought to him, to 
examine our style and proficiency. . . . He never walked 
to Chiswick for his recreation without a brace of this young 
fry, and in that wayfaring leisure had a singular dexterity 
to fill those narrow vessels with a funnel." Thrice a week 
or oftener he called the uppermost scholars to his lodgings 
from eight till eleven at night, unfolding to them the rudi- 
ments of Greek and the elements of Hebrew grammar; 

he was a night worker and said they were no true scholars 
who came to speak with him before noon. 

All this he did, they said, without compulsion or correc- 
tion; "Nay, I never heard him utter so much as a word 
of austerity among us." So we get glimpses of the rigid, 
but on the whole kind, schooling of the English divines. 

Andrcwcs was with Elizabeth when she died and 
preached when she was buried. Then he aided in the Ab- 
bey rites at the coronation of James. The new king ad- 
mired him "beyond all other divines, not only for his 
transcendant gift in preaching, but for his excellency and 
solidity in all kinds of learning." Fuller said, "His gravity 
in manner awed King James, who refrained from that 
mirth and liberty in the presence of this prelate which he 
otherwise assumed to himself/* Yet Andrcwcs' smiling face 
in a portrait suggests his own very real sense of humor. 

One of the rarest linguists in Christendom, Andrewes 
knew fifteen languages, and was so skilled in all of them, 
especially the Oriental ones, that Fuller suggested he might 
"almost have served as an interpreter general at the con- 
fusion of tongues/* In writing he was tireless, using an 
amanuensis only to transcribe that which he had first writ- 
ten in his own hand. 

Many thought him most fit to succeed old John Whitgift 
as Archbishop of Canterbury. King James, under the eye 
of Richard Bancroft who was already acting in Whitgift's 
place, delayed in raising anyone to that position* The king 
liked Andrewes but had to depend more on Bancroft, -who 
threw his weight about and was less easygoing with the 

While Andrewes valued a high ritual, he never forced 
it on others. He had the highest scruples in giving prefer- 
ments to the clergy, abhorred simony and strove always to 
find the fittest man for any place he had to fill. He had 
a wide knowledge of scholars throughout England and 
good judgment in weighing their talents. In short, this 

thoughtful walker possessed the traits most useful in choos- 
ing the men to make over the English Bible, and in weld- 
ing them into a working unit. 

Scholars and preachers were then poring over all por- 
tions of the Bible and writing on all the texts. Though the 
king had named fifty-four learned men, he intended many 
more to share in the work. Some lists today name only 
forty-seven but I have found more than the fifty-four, if we 
include replacements for those who died. The final version 
contains contributions from countless unknown linguists. 

Many who sought advancement buzzed around the new 
king with servile praises. For instance William Thorne, 
about thirty-three and Dean of Chichester at the end of 
1601, royal Hebrew reader at New College, Oxford, and 
greatly skilled in the sacred tongues, wrote and printed his 
Kenning Glass for a Christian King based on the text "Be- 
hold the man." Though Thome's mirror for the perfect 
monarch repeated the Pauline advice against "acceptance 
of persons/' of course James was flattered and made 
Thorne one of the learned men. 

Thome's name has never appeared on the many lists 
of translators. That he belonged with the rest is proved 
by a paper, preserved in The Public Works Office, Lon- 
don, saying that Mr. Thorne, king's chaplain, "is now . . . 
very necessarily employed in the translation of that part 
of the Old Testament" being done at Oxford, and urging 
that the church promote him further, as "very good and 
honest." 3 Thorne, in fact, must have been one of the 
scholars early chosen. 

Though many sought to be considered worthy, the na- 
ture of the design demanded men of proved ability. And 
so, although the new king would give his name to the new 
Bible, its translators were Elizabethans all. 

a Manuscript, Public Records Office. London, 1606. 


^Puritans* ^Progress 

While the high churchmen were adding to their prefer- 
ment by work on the new Bible, what of the Puritans who 
had suggested it? 

Rainolds, who made the proposal, was among the fore- 
most scholars in Elizabethan and early Stuart England. 
Those who knew him held him to be the most; learned 
man in England, pious, courteous, modest, kind, and 
wholly honest, with a vast memory that made him "a living 
library, a third university." 

John Rainolds was born about Michaelmas, 1549, at 
Pinloe near Exeter in Devonshire. The fifth son of Richard 
Rainolds, a papist, he went to Corpus Christi College, Ox- 
ford, where he "wholly addicted himself" to the study of 
the Holy Scriptures. As a young convert from the Roman 
Church, he must have had many inner conflicts as he 
escaped more and more from beliefs in which even as a 
child he had been restive. Others were going through the 
same experience; at Oxford as elsewhere it was a stirring 
time of rebirth and reform. Most people had grown tip in 
families holding to the Roman Church. 

Soon after he got his degree, Rainolds was named Greek 
reader, and his fame grew fast from his lectures. Among 
the students he tutored was Richard Hooker, who was to 
write The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity,, a work of influ- 
ence even today. Rainolds himself read all the Latin and 

Greek fathers, and all the ancient records of the Church 
that he could come by. He studied Aristotle and wrote a 
commentary that was highly praised. Also he practiced 
a style of writing, later called Euphuistic after Lyly's 
Euphues, which was based on alliteration and classic pat- 
terns of formal balance. 

In 1579 he wrote a report over six hundred pages long 
of his attempt an assignment from Sir Francis Walsing- 
ham to turn from popish ways a young man confined in 
the Tower of London. To the poor imprisoned papist 
Rainolds was kind after a fashion, since he had been born 
a papist too, but also firm and severe. The small differ- 
ences between them he compared to "small holes in ships 
at the which a great deal of water will come in, enough 
to drown the ship if they have been left open as long as 
these have been in the ship of the church." Rainolds set 
down all that was said by both during long sessions in the 
Tower, in which he prayed "God give you both a soft heart 
and an understanding mind that you may be able wisely 
to discern and gladly to embrace the truth when you shall 
hear it." Alas, the stubborn prisoner spent "twenty days in 
irons for not yielding to one Rainolds/' 

In 1586 Rainolds began lectures founded by Walsing- 
ham, at twenty pounds a year, to confute Romish tenets. 
Many hearers came three times a week, and those who 
believed as he did thought that he was doing great good. 

Next, in 1592, he began an assault on stage plays. In 
1566 when Rainolds was a student at Oxford, Queen Eliza- 
beth had paid a visit to the university. At Corpus Christi 
College a play composed for her was acted, with Rainolds, 
then seventeen, playing the role of a female. The queen 
enjoyed the performance, laughing much and thanking 
the author for his pains. Now, nearly thirty years after, 
Rainolds could not forgive himself for acting the part of 
a girL Nearly all his pamphlet, "The Overthrow o Stage 
Plays/* was about how unlawful it was for men to wear 

women's clothing and for people to see such shameful 
make-believe. To him unlawful meant against the Bible. 
Had not the law of God, in Deuteronomy 22:5, forbidden 
a man to put on woman's raiment? But for some years more 
the English stage would continue to present boy actors in 
women's parts. 

Of the plays themselves Rainolds complained, "They 
meditate how they may inflame a tender youth with love, 
entice him to dalliance, to whoredom, to incest, inure their 
minds and bodies to uncomely, dissolute, railing, boasting, 
knavish, foolish, brainsick, drunken conceits, words and 
gestures." Later the Puritans were to close the theaters, 
which would open again in the reign of Charles II, more 
corrupt and obscene than ever. 

After some show of reason Rainolds went on to attack 
other entertainment of the times. "You say that there is 
a time for sports, plays, dances, a time for earnest studies; 
the man consisted! not of one part alone; he hath a body 
as well as a mind. Time of recreation is necessary, I grant, 
and think as necessary for scholars that are scholars indeed, 
I mean good students, as it is for any/ 1 Yet, he argues, "in 
my opinion it were not fit for them to play at stool ball 
among wenches, nor at mum chance and maw [a card 
game] with idle loose companions, nor at trunks [a sort 
of bagatelle] in guild halls, nor to dance about the may- 
pole, nor to rifle [gamble with dice] in ale houses, nor to 
carouse in taverns, nor to rob orchards." Stool ball was 
a sort of cricket, an Easter game played between men and 
women with, as stake, a pudding or omelet flavored with 
tansy juice in memory of the Passover bitter herbs. 

Now in 159$ the queen was again at Oxford, and as she 
was leaving she sent for the heads of houses and others* 
Then she "schooled Doctor Rainolds for his obstinate 
preciseness, willing him to follow her laws and not mm 
before them/ 1 

Yet despite his strictness Rainolds was credited with "a 

sweet gift in preaching" and a sharp and nimble wit. Pa- 
tient and full of vigor, he conversed with young students 
"so familiarly and so profitably that whatsoever, how often 
soever, how much soever men desired to learn from him 
in any kind of knowledge/' they could daily draw it from 
his mouth "as an ever springing and never failing well/* 

In 1593 he became Dean of Lincoln, and six years 
later he changed places with the troubled president of 
Corpus Christi College. There he set about to reduce a 
long turmoil and to repair and make lovely the chancel, 
the library, the hall; also to improve the scholarships and 
chaplainships. "Our commons/' he said of the college, 
"are I confess in many places slender and short of that 
which our good founders meant for us, which hath risen 
through the want of faithful stewards, yet nowhere is it 
so scant as that we are enforced to gather herbs to make 
pottage, or to feed on a few barley leaves/' He complained 
rather of heads who took what was meant for others and 
devoured it, "as though our colleges were meant only for 
heads, not at all for members." In such pleas for the wider 
spreading of good he showed himself a man of sense. 

Indeed, as a Puritan dean in the college where Puritans 
were strong, Rainolds mellowed. He was gentle and pur- 
sued what he thought a righteous mean, wearing the square 
cap and the surplice and kneeling when he received the 
holy bread and wine. So content was he that he declined 
the queen's offer to make him a bishop. He had gracious 
words in these days even for women: "Think you that your 
wives, children, and servants have no souls, or that they 
are given them only for this life, instead of salt, to keep 
their bodies from putrefying?" 

Yet "bitter words were daily shot at him" in the con- 
troversy of the time, and in 1602, as he walked in London, 
in Finsbury Fields "an arrow whether shot purposely by 
some Jesuited papist or at random, fell upon his breast 
but entered not his body." 

Such was the man, simple enough at heart,, whom King 
James had asked to Hampton Court as the "foreman" of 
the Puritans, who there as if on the spur of the moment 
asked that the Bible be rendered afresh in English, the 
man who was now to have a large share in the task. In spirit 
he was an Elizabethan artist in words who aided not only 
in finding happy phrases and rhythms but in fixing what 
was good in the Geneva version and others before it. In his 
hands the Bible would be safe. 

With him to Hampton Court had gone the beloved 
Laurence Chaderton. Chaderton was born about 1537 ' in 
Lancashire, far from Rainolds' Devon. His family, like 
Rainolds', was Catholic, and his father was wealthy enough 
to trust the boy's early education to tutors who allowed 
him to spend his time in country sports. Then an able 
and learned tutor gave him good papist training and tried, 
in accordance with the father's wish, to push him into law. 
But before the Inns of Court came Christ College, Cam- 
bridge; there the Puritans were strong and young Chader- 
ton became a convert. 

His father wrote to offer him thirty pounds a year to quit 
Cambridge: "Son Laurence, if you will renounce the new 
sect which you have joined, you may expect all the happi- 
ness which the care of an indulgent father can assure you; 
othenvise, I enclose a shilling to buy a wallet. Go and beg/' 

With quiet courage Laurence refused this melodramatic 
offer, choosing to go on as a Puritan, and obtaining a schol- 
arship. He eked out his means with some teaching, and 
his father may have helped him a little in spite of the 

At Cambridge Chaderton studied Latin, Greek, and 
Hebrew, learned French, Italian, and Spanish, and in- 
dulged a taste for botany. More robust than Rainolds, he 
engaged with vigor in Town and Gown fights, yet was also 
grave, learned, and pious, with a strict regard for the Sab- 
bath. He was credited with a plain but cogent way of 

preaching and a firm dislike of Arminianism, which set up 
free will against free grace and taught that predestination 
is conditional, not absolute. At St. Clement's, Cambridge, 
he started a series of afternoon lectures or sermons that 
continued for fifty years. 

He also preached at Paul's Cross, which long stood in 
the northeast part of St. Paul's churchyard, in the angle 
between the choir and the north transept. Here it was that 
the Tyndale Bible was burned. You may look in vain for 
this landmark now, for they tore it down in the days of 
the Long Parliament. 

In 1576 Chaderton had to choose between his Cam- 
bridge fellowship and marriage. He resigned in order to 
marry Cecilia, daughter of Nicholas Culverwell, the 
queen's wine merchant. It was a long, happy union, with 
one daughter. Few of those who revised the Bible for King 
James had wives. Chaderton's domestic arrangements in- 
cluded servants, to whom he was said to be kind; thus he 
never kept a servant from public worship to cook victuals, 
saying, "I desire as much to have my servants know the 
Lord as myself." Yet if a servant was at any time given 
to lying or any other open vice, "he would not suffer her 
to remain in his house though she do ever so much work." 
Besides this fitting concern for the souls and morals of 
those who served him, Chaderton was credited with show- 
ing "a living affection for the poor, which is a certain token 
of a sound Christian." 

The Puritans asked both words and works, and in their 
conflict with the Establishment over preaching versus 
forms, they had a great desire for a preaching clergy of 
their own. At St. Paul's Chaderton had complained, as the 
Puritans commonly did, against "those who serve mortal 
and sinful men with simony, flattering words, and servile 
obedience, not lawfully to obtain one room in the vine- 
yard of the Lord, but two, three, four or more places" 
meaning those of the clergy who held two or more livings 

at once. Where, he asked, "are the lips o the ministers 
which do preserve knowledge, or those messengers o God, 
at whose mouths His poor people should seek His law? 
Nay rather, where are not whole swarms of idle, ignorant 
and ungodly curates and readers who neither can nor will 
go before the dear flock of Christ in soundness of doctrine 
and integrity of life?'' 

In 1583 Sir Walter Mildmay, brother-in-law of Walsing- 
ham, treasurer of the queen '$ household, and a defender 
of the Puritans in their battle with the bishops, offered to 
found Emmanuel College if Chaderton would be its head. 
The plan was for the fellows of Emmanuel not to stay in 
the college at peace with their endless studies, as too many 
did, but to go out and spread knowledge in all parts of the 
country. After the college opened, the queen said to Mild- 
may, "Sir Walter, I hear you have erected a Puritan found- 
dation." He replied, "No, madam, far be it from me to 
countenance anything contrary to your established laws, 
but I have set an acorn which, when it becomes an oak, 
God alone knows what will be the fruit thereof/ 1 

Chaderton himself declared a dozen years later that he 
"neither publicly nor privately spake any thing either out 
of a study of contradiction or with any kind of speaking 
evil of any man, but only publicly to back and defend the 
true doctrine of the Church of England," Though he felt 
most friendly toward the extreme Puritan party, he had 
no scruples about the sign of the cross in baptism and 
other disputed forms, and never separated himself from 
the disciplines of the Church or the authority of the law. 
When high church critics complained that communicants 
sat during the Lord's Supper in Emmanuel College, he 
said that it was difficult to kneel by reason of the seats 
being placed as they were, but that they had some kneeling. 

Someone had said that a Puritan was "a Protestant frayed 
out of his wits," but such men as Rainolds and Chaderton 
were not easily frayed. If they could not resolve the differ- 

ences that divided them from those who clung to the old 
forms, they could find ways to work and points of agree- 
ment. About a right English Bible, grounded on a wide 
range of learning, there could be no real dispute. It could 
help the many with knowledge. 

Such a Bible would have room for all persuasions among 
the countless shades of strife, from the Brownists whom 
none defended to those who under Bishop Bancroft 
wielded the huge willful strength of men entrenched in 
power. The struggle with these last was thirty years old 
and would go on until some of those who wanted to cleanse 
the Church would sail across the sea as Pilgrims. But first, 
for the new Bible, the strife between factions would be 
healthy. The Bible has always thrived on turmoil. 

Though their differences like their skills were Eliza- 
bethan, those of the several sides who joined in the work 
would produce a masterpiece to transcend their age. With 
nice balance they put much of themselves and the back- 
ground of the times into it, while also keeping much of 
themselves and their background out of it. 

That those who worked on the new Bible had varied 
points of view was, then, to be no stumbling block but 
instead to insure its having something for all. We may 
regret that the learned translators were divided by no 
wider differences: there were among them no Roman 
Catholics, Jews, or women. They were male Protestants, 
roughly or smoothly within the Church of England, and 
as such they thought in certain grooves. The marvel is 
that they did so well. 


The Westminster Qroups 

The learned men arranged to carry on their work of 
translation in groups convenient to the other duties 
which, for many of them, came first. There were six 
groups: two at Westminster, one for the Old Testament 
and one for the New; two at Oxford, one for each Testa- 
ment; and two at Cambridge, one for the Old Testament 
and one for the Apocrypha. 

The Westminster group of the Old Testament was 
headed by Lancelot Andrewes, and met in his pleasant 
deanery. It included John Overall, Dean of St. Paul's; 
Hadrian Saravia, John Layfield, Robert Tigue, Francis 
Burleigh, Jeffrey King, Richard Thomson, William Bed- 
well, and Richard Clarke, all Hebrew scholars, greater or 
lesser. I shall present here the chief of these men and tell 
briefly of the rest in a postscript at the end of this book. 

John Overall, son o George Overall, was baptized in 
the cloth-making village of Hadleigh, Suffolk, some fifty 
miles from London, March 2, 1560. Within a little over 
a year he appears to have been an orphan. At the Hadleigh 
grammar school he was a sizar, or poor student, who served 
the master for his board and lodging. Two or three years 
later he moved on with the master to Trinity College. 
Grave and handsome, he was in 1592 vicar at Epping, be- 
yond Epping Forest, in Essex. In 1596 he rose to the royal 
chair of divinity at Cambridge. Two years later, after 


some conflict about the choice, he became, at the queen's 
behest, Master of Catherine Hall there. For one who had 
been a poor boy it was a very rapid advance. 

Yet from this, advancement was to come. In 1602 the 
queen, on the urging of Sir Philip Sidney's friend, Sir 
Fulke Greville, made Overall Dean of St. Paul's. He of 
course retained his post at Cambridge. 

At that time St. Paul's was a peculiar problem, its state 
one far from ideal grace. The nave, called Paul's Walk, 
had long been a meeting and trading place for all sorts of 
rough, noisy people. In an uproar like that of swarming 
bees, men and women thronged there to exchange news, 
to buy and sell horses, servants, and all kinds of things, 
to pick pockets and to concoct lawless schemes. It was a 
place where fops showed off and women from the streets 
sought, found, and bargained with men. Thomas Dekker 
wrote of the scene: 

What swaggering, what facing and out facing. What shuf- 
fling, what shouldering, what justling, what jeering, what 
byting of thumbs to beget quarrels, what holding uppe of finger 
to remember drunken meetings, what braving with feathers, 
what bearding with mustachoes, what casting open of cloakes 
to publish new clothes, what muffling in cloakes to hyde broken 
elbows . . . such trampling up and downe, such spetting, such 
balking, and such humming (every man's lips making a noise, 
yet not a word to be understoode) . . . foote by foote, and 
elbow by elbow, shall you see walking the Knight, the Gull, 
the Gallant, the upstart, the Gentleman, the Clowne, the Cap- 
taine, the Apple-squire (pander), the Lawyer, the Usurer, the 
Citizen, the Bankerout, the Scholler, the Begger, the Doctor, 
the Ideot, the Ruffian, the Choater, the Puritan, the Cutthroat, 
the Hye-man, the Low-men, the True-man, and the Thiefe . . . 
whilst devotion kneeles at her prayers, doth prophanation walk 
under her nose in contempt of Religion. 

Indeed it seemed that in Paul's Walk all the evil folk 
mentioned in the Bible rambled and strutted. There the 

jostling, the shuffling, the swearing, the coney catching, 
the squeals and shrieks and guffaws, the whole smelly hub- 
bub, became so scandalous that Shakespeare in Henry IV, 
Part II, and Ben Jonson in Every Man in His Humour^ 
make reference to this profanation. 

Part of Overall's work as dean was to clean up this messy 
traffic. This he did rather quickly, for a time at least, while 
he rode between London and Cambridge. He also ex- 
tended his responsibilities by getting for himself the liv- 
ings at Algarkirk in Lincolnshire and Clothal in Hert- 
fordshire, He was one of those condemned by Chaderton 
and others for being "plural parsons* 1 with several in- 

Now at the age of forty-four, just before he became a 
Bible translator, he felt able to support a wife. On April 
16, 1604, at Mitcham, Surrey, he married the lovely Anne, 
daughter of Edward Orwell of Christ Church, London. 
Called "the greatest beauty of her time in England," she 
was the most recent bride among the learned men as the 
Bible translation got under way. Before it was done, her 
flighty conduct would occasion gossip. 

Why Overall was placed in the Hebrew group at West- 
minster is unclear, for he knew little of that language, be- 
ing mainly a Latin scholar. Fuller wrote of him that on his 
appointment to preach before the queen, "he professed 
. . . that he had spoken Latin so long, it was troublesome 
to speak English in a continued oration." With no great 
fondness for preaching, he was content to quote the church 
fathers, and in general his views made him "a discreet 
presser of conformity/' Thus he wrote, "If any man shall 
therefore affirm that ... all civil power, jurisdiction, and 
authority was first derived from the people and disordered 
multitude, or either is originally still in them or else de- 
duced by their consents, naturally from them, and is not 
God's ordinance originally descending from Him and 
depending upon Him, he doth greatly err." Clearly Over- 

all had no use for any sense of commonwealth, no belief 
that the people of themselves could evolve government. 

Asked by the Earl of Essex whether a man might law- 
fully enjoy recreation upon the Sabbath after evening 
prayer, Overall thought that he might that it was "neces- 
sary that both body and mind should have recreation, that 
a man may be so tedious and worn out in the service of 
God that he may not be fit for God's service." Thus the 
dean, with all his duties, seems to have thought that serv- 
ing God might be wearing. Yet while he was vicar at 
Epping he had written of a common theological point 
with simplicity and almost evangelical zeal: "I was re- 
quested to come visit some of my parish that were sick, 
and coming I found them sicker in mind than body. The 
thing that troubled their minds, so they said, was this. 
They could not be persuaded that Christ died for them. 
Wherein, having by the comforts of the gospel, as I thought 
best, somewhat eased and persuaded them, I took occa- 
sion afterward in my sermon, for their sakes, to handle 
this point . . . Christ died for all men sufficiently, for 
the believer only effectually, as the sun that shineth suffi- 
ciently to give light to all, though it doth it effectually 
only to them that open their eyes; as water that is suffi- 
cient to quench all the thirsty, but doth it only to them 
that drink it; as physic that is sufficient to cure all maladies, 
but doth it effectually only where it is applied. So Christ, 
the sum of righteousness, the water of life, the heavenly 

We may discount some of the praise of Overall because 
it is of the kind that the florid writers about these Eliza- 
bethan worthies gave freely to all. Yet he was a prodigious 
learned man, they said, learned and judicious, with a 
strong brain to improve his great reading, and accounted 
one of the most learned, controversial divines of his day, 
one of the most profound of the English nation. 

As a translator it was easy for Overall to go from St. 

Paul's to Westminster, a trifle over two miles. He could 
have gone by road or by Thames river boat. St. Paul's was 
under Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London. To what 
extent the ambitious bishop and the successful dean were 
jealous of each other can only be surmised, but Overall 
seems to have been enough in the Bancroft party to rise 
with him. He made himself deeply useful to the bishops 
by preparing a great volume of canons. 

Like Andrewes and Overall, Dr. Hadrian Saravia ap- 
proved the divine right of the kings and the august func- 
tions of bishops. King James and Bishop Bancroft must 
have found him a wholly safe man, sound in doctrine and 
practice. He was "a terrible high churchman/ 1 one to 
exude the richer airs of Europe, for he was among the 
few learned men of foreign birth and training. Born in 
Artois in 1531 and therefore the oldest translator, Saravia 
had a father of Spanish descent and a Flemish mother. 
Both had become Protestants, so he had no popish child- 
hood to outgrow. 

After training for the Church in the Low Countries, 
Saravia took part in drawing up the Walloon confession 
of faith and founded the Walloon church in Brussels. 
Copies of the confession were given to the Prince of 
Orange and to Count Egmont, the leaders of the Low 
Countries' Protestants, on behalf of the Calvinists. At 
Leyden, Saravia was professor of divinity in the university 
and received the degree of doctor of divinity while he was 
pastor of the French Reformed Church there. No link 
appears between him and the Pilgrims or Brownists who 
fled from England to Holland and later sailed from 
Leyden to Plymouth, Massachusetts, after Saravia had 
left the Low Countries. 

Before reaching England Saravia was pastor of a church 
at Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Oxford gave him the 
doctor of divinity degree in 1590. There, while serving 
as vicar of Lewisham in Kent, he was a prebend of Canter- 

bury, Worcester, and Westminster. His great Mend was 
Richard Hooker, Rainolds' student, who tried to lessen 
conflicts and became known as the seeker for the golden 
mean, Izaac Walton wrote that "those two excellent per- 
sons began a holy friendship increasing daily to so high 
and holy affection that their two wills seemed to be but 
one and the same. . . . They were supposed to be con- 
fessors to each other." 

Much of Saravia's writing is in Latin, but in plain 
English he maintained the authority of the bishops by 
apostolic warrant, and his "Treatise on the Different De- 
grees of the Christian Priesthood/' published in 1590, 
maintained that "by apostles are meant bishops/' with 
Titus and Timotheus in their turn created bishops by di- 
vinely authorized ordination. He warned the clergy of 
Guernsey that to overthrow this primitive polity was "not 
so much to reform as to deform/ 1 and explained that "a 
sound form of government does not allow all to have equal 
authority for governing/' Clearly he was a man who dis- 
liked change and distrusted novelty. 

Thus, writing of the great value of the universities, he 
said that without these seminaries of all learning and 
virtue, "the refinements of society and civilization gen- 
erally would vanish, and leave mankind to relapse into 
that wild state of the savages of America/' Only three of 
the learned men seem to have mentioned America, then 
so vastly unknown, and Saravia appears to have looked 
upon the New World with distaste and horror. 

A younger member of the Hebrew group at West- 
minster, Dr. John Layfield, had actually gone out with 
those daring men who enlarged England's pride by voy- 
age to lands beyond the seas. Layfield, a fellow of Trinity 
College, Cambridge, fared forth to the West Indies as 
chaplain to the third Earl of Cumberland. 

Dr. Layfield enjoyed the flaunting colors of the tropics, 
and described with childlike delight what he saw on the 


islands where he landed. His is the sole really mundane 
writing that we have by any of the translators; he was 
earthy where all the rest were lofty. His long account of 
the voyage to Puerto Rico may be read in Purchas, His 

The voyage was made in a spring late in the 1590'$, 
some say 1596, others 1598. In May at the island of Do- 
minica Layfield wrote: "By two in the afternoon we were 
come so near abroad the shore that we were met with 
many canoes manned with men wholly naked, saving that 
they had chains and bracelets and some bodkins in their 
ears, or some strap in their nostrils or lips. . . . They 
are men of good proportions, strong and light limbed, but 
few of them tall, their wits able to direct them to things 
bodily profitable. . . . They have wickers platted some- 
thing like a broad shield to defend the rain, they that 
want these use a very broad leaf for that purpose. They 
provide shelter against the rain because it washeth off 
their red painting, laid so on that if you touch it you 
shall find it on your fingers. . . . They saw their women 
as naked as we had seen their men and alike attired even 
to the boring of their lips and ears. Yet in that nakedness 
they discovered some sparks of modesty, not willingly 
coming in the sight of strange and apparelled men, and 
when they did come busy to cover what should have been 
better covered. . . ." 

Though we can prove nothing by mere diction, there 
are many words in this passage that are found in the King 
James Bible: apparel, attired, discovered, nakedness, bor- 
ing ears, covered, profitable. The rhythms of Layfield also 
may remind us faintly of those in the books on which he 

"The soil is very fat," he wrote, "even in the most 
neglected places matching the garden plats in England 
for a rich black mold; so mountainous (certain in the 
places where we came near the sea coasts) that the valleys 


may better be called pits than plains, and withall so im- 
passably wooded that it is marvelous how those naked 
souls can be able to pull themselves through them with- 
out renting their natural clothes. . . . These hills are 
apparelled with very goodly trees of many sorts. The tall- 
ness of these unrequested trees makes the hills seem more 
hilly than of themselves happily they are; for they grow 
so like good children of some happy civil body, without 
envy or oppression, as that they look like a proud meadow 
about Oxford, when after some eruption Thames is again 
couched low within his own banks, leaving the earth's 
mantle more rugged and flaky then otherwise it would 
have been." 

Of Puerto Rico he wrote: "The soldiers which were 
found to lie abroad in the fields, when they awaked found 
as much of their bodies as lay upwards to be very wet. 
. . . A wolvish kind of wild dogs which are bred in the 
woods and there do go in great companies together . . . 
live off crabs ... an animal, a living and sensible crea- 
ture . . . these woods are full of those crabs. . . . Par- 
rots and parakeets are here ... I have ordinarily seen 
them fly in flocks. . . ." 

More than Lancelot Andrewes even, Layfield observed 
details and set them down. About plants he was exact and 

"A woody pine apple is of an exceeding durance and 
lasting. The taste of this fruit is very delicious, so as it 
quickly breedeth a fullness. For I cannot like it in the 
palate to any (me thinks) better than to very ripe straw- 
berries and cream, the rather if a man hath already eaten 
almost his belly full. ... It groweth upon a bush like 
an artichoke/' 

About drinks, which intrigued all Elizabethans, he said: 
"The Spaniard hath two . . . sorts of drink, the one 
called Guacapo made of molasses (that is the coarsest of 
their sugar) and some spices; the other kind, and used 


by the better sort of them, is called Alo which is a kind 
of Bragget (honey and ale fermented together) with many 
hot spices. . . ." Of cassava juice he wrote: "Sodden, 
there is made a pretty kind of drink somewhat like small 
ale/ 1 This is the writing of one who imbibed all the drinks 
with taste and good cheer. Conceivably he later relished 
fixing in English the Bible passages about drinking. 

The strange plantains impressed him. "These plantains 
are a fruit which grow on a shrub between an herb and 
a tree; but it is commonly called a tree of the height of 
a man, the stem of it as big as a man's thigh, the fruit 
itself of the bigness and shape of a goat's horn, it groweth 
yellowish and mellow being ripe either upon the tree or 
with keeping, and then eaten raw or roasted it is a good 
meat, coming near to the relish of an Apple-John [a new 
word when Layfield wrote] or a duson that hath been 
kept till it is over-ripe, saving that methought I still found 
some taste of a root in it, the meat of it is lapped up in 
a thin skin, which being scored the long way with a knife, 
delivereth what is within it. . . ." That is an early record 
of the banana, a word which dates from 1597. 

"Their Yerva will not have me forget it. This herb 
is a little contemptible weed to look upon, with a long 
wood stalk creeping upon the ground, and seldom lifting 
itself above a handful high on the ground. But it hath a 
property which confoundeth my understanding, and per- 
haps will seem strange in the way of philosophers, who 
have denied every part of sense to any plant; yet this cer- 
tainly seemeth to have feeling. For if you lay your finger 
or a stick upon the leaves of it, not only that very piece 
which you touched but that that is near to it will contract 
itself and run together, as if it, were presently dead and 
withered, not only the leaves but the very sprigs, being 
touched, will so disdainfully withdraw themselves, as if 
they would slip themselves rather than be touched, in 
which state both leaf and sprig will continue a good while, 

before it return to the former great and flourishing form, 
and they say that so long as the party which touched it 
standeth by it, it will not open, but after his departure it 
will. ... It must be more than sense, whence such a 
sullenness can proceed." 

That is easy, zestful writing, fairly direct though loose. 
Compare it with the simple, exact, firm accounts of the 
temple and tabernacle in Exodus and I Kings. Of Dr. 
Layfield it is said that "being skilled in architecture, his 
judgment was much relied on for the fabric of the taber- 
nacle and temple." 1 

In 1602 Dr. Layfield became rector of a great London 
church, St. Clement Danes, which stands amid a parting 
of the traffic in the Strand. There, near where the learned 
men worked on the Bible at Westminster, he stayed for 

Like Dean Overall, not long before the translating be- 
gan and doubtless because he too had achieved a good 
living, Layfield let romance into his life. On January 22, 
1603, John Layfield, aged forty, was licensed to marry 
Elizabeth, widow of John Brickett. She seems at once to 
have melted into his background, for we have no further 
mention of her. When Layfield needed more money, 
Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter, wrote to his half brother, 
Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, asking that the latter give 
the living at Gravely to his "well worthy" chaplain, Dr. 
Layfield. There is no record showing whether he got the 

Another of the younger men in the Westminster He- 
brew group, Richard Thomson, called "Dutch" Thomson, 
was born in Holland of English parents. In 1587 he took 
his B.A. at Clare Hall, Cambridge, and he received his 
M.A. degree from both Cambridge and Oxford. His living 
was at Snailwell, Cambridgeshire. Later his sponsor was 

1 Collin, Ecclesiastical History, 1852. Vol. VII, page 337. This is the only 
plain statement I have found about what wording any translator wrought. 


Sir Robert Killigrew. A great interpreter of Martial's 
Latin epigrams, he was also called a "grand propagator 
of Arminianisin," the anti-Calvinist way of thought de- 
veloped in Holland. 

Prynne said he was "a debauched drunken English 
Dutchman who seldom went to bed one night sober." Yet 
Richard Montague called him "a most admirable philol- 
oger." Few divines were averse to drinking, and few 
wholly abstained from it. "Dutch" Thomson is the only 
one of the learned men to whom any referred as drunken. 
But if he had what others may have thought too much 
by night, he arose in the morning with his head clear 
enough to go forward competently with the day's work. 

William Bedwell was a far more famous scholar in 
England, where he was the father of Arabic studies. Arabic 
he held to be the "only language of religion" as well as 
the chief language of diplomacy and business, "from the 
Fortunate Islands to the China Seas." Born in 1562, Bed- 
well was of Trinity College, Cambridge, and traveled in 
Holland, where he went to Leyden to see the Arabic col- 
lections of Scaliger, the famous linguist. In 1601 he was 
rector of St. Ethelburgh's in Bishopsgate Street, London. 
Not only an Oriental scholar, he was a mathematician, 
with a notable library of books on mathematics and 

In a hack work called "The Survey and Antiquity of 
the Towns of Stamford . . . and Tottenham High Cross/' 
he described the town of Tottenham as "compounded of 
a quadrate and triangle, which kind of figure is of Euclid 
and his scholars both Greeks and Latins called trape- 

Still his odder writing is found in his Mahomet Un- 
masked and his Arabian Trudgman. A trudgman, he said, 
"signifieth an interpreter." But some of his interpreta- 
tions may be questioned: thus he said of "sarrha, serra, 
or as the Spaniards do pronounce it sierra, a desert place, 


a wilderness. Sahara: the stony country, the sands; the 
same almost that sarra is, that is a wilderness o desert, un- 
tilled and uninhabited, by reason that it is nothing but 
rocks and overspread with sand." Would any modern 
scholar connect Sahara with sierra, which means a long 
jagged mountain chain, from the Latin meaning "saw"? 

Among the learned men of course were preachers as 
well as scholars. Richard Clarke, a fellow of Christ's Col- 
lege, Cambridge, and vicar on the island of Thanet, be- 
yond the mouth of the Thames, was one of the six preach- 
ers in Canterbury Cathedral. Also he preached in the 
famous metropolitan Church of Christ, Canterbury. His 
sermons show the shape of his thought and his popular 
style: "There are two sorts of atheism, mental and vocal 
... I pardon the mouth atheist. For he that shall openly 
say, There is no God, will ipso facto be thought beside 
himself. Or if he seem to have his wits, yet they that hear 
him will abhor him; they will stop their ears against his 
blasphemy, they will hiss at him, they will spit at him; his 
impious assertion shall not stumble any one. But the heart 
atheist that saith God is, but thinks it not, and lives ac- 
cordingly, ungodlily, unrighteously, unsoberly . . . his 
sin is greater than his hypocrisy." 

The Westminster Hebrew group seems to have been 
a truly balanced team. It glowed with Elizabethan fire that 
ran through Andrewes, the linguist with a good temper; 
Overall, the plugging workman; Saravia, who had solid 
Leyden training; Layfield, of the simple style, who had 
voyaged to America; Thomson the master of word roots; 
Bedwell, versed in Eastern tongues; and Clarke, the zeal- 
ous preacher. These, with the lesser men of the group, 
could sit down in a stone room by the fire and discuss in 
placid, capable fashion the books of the Bible they were 
to translate. 

Nearly all these men at Westminster were from the 
south of England, most of them holding livings in or near 

London. They needed to be within a day's ride on horse- 
back from their places to carry on this special work 

But there the likeness ended, for all shades of opinion 
were to be found among them. "Dutch" Thomson the 
Arminian came naturally by his views, but Saravia the 
high churchman had studied at Leyden and what did he 
think of Jacobus Arminius? Strict Calvinists, of course, 
liked even less the Arminian softening of the doctrine of 
predestination, and at this time the conformists in the 
English Church were perhaps less rabid than the Puritans, 

Yet it is clear that while they worked together, at least, 
these learned men with all their shades of doctrine bore 
with each other. In the Westminster Hebrew group were 
none who fought in the open. They could unite in their 
desire to contrive a good and useful Bible and to confirm 
themselves in the good will of the king and of Bancroft, 
the strongest moving force in the Church. At the same 
time they had their own inner urges toward rewards 
better livings, honors, added money. How could they 
afford to fight among themselves? 

The Greek group at Westminster translated the Epis- 
tles. Their head was William Barlow, Dean of Chester, 
whose account of the Hampton Court parley is our main 
source for what took place there. As Chester is a long way 
from London, Barlow must often have stayed away from 
his duties as dean. 

William Barlow had studied at St. John's College, 
Cambridge. He was a fellow at Trinity Hall in 1590, 
and granted a degree of doctor of divinity in 1599. Mean- 
while in 1597 he was rector of St. Dunstan's in the East 
in London. Chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, he also 
preached before the queen as one of her chaplains. She 
praised his sermon on the plow, saying, "Barlow's text 
might seem taken from the cart, but his talk might teach 

all the court." At the 1601 convocation he preached a 
famous "barley loaf" sermon that the Puritans misliked. 
At Hampton Court he showed that he misliked the 

An important event of his career before he began to 
translate the Bible was his role at the execution of the 
Earl of Essex, February 23, 1601. Three chaplains, of 
whom Barlow was one, heard the condemned lord recite 
the Creed on the scaffold. Essex, so tall, so youthful-looking, 
so blond, clad in scarlet, lay down and after a moment 
gave the sign for the end by thrusting out his scarlet arms. 
The mighty axeman thrice raised the axe in a mighty 
curve and thrice smashed it down. He was so frightened 
that he first slashed the earl through the shoulder, then 
through the head, and at last through the neck in a fashion 
most grisly. Stooping, he lifted the bloody head, held it 
high for all to see, and roared as was his final duty, "God 
save the Queen!" 

About kings and queens, Barlow was always sound. 
Thus he wrote: "It is the prudence of a prince which 
swayeth the scepter as the stern guides the ship." The 
king's body, he said, is "sacred by holy unction/' Sacred 
providence, he declared, "is to keep kings' persons and 
their authority sacred; that is, free from touch of dis- 
grace, or dismay of terror by any human power." King 
James greatly approved of him. 

Others in this New Testament group were John Spen- 
ser, Roger Fenton, Ralph Hutchinson, Michael Rabbett, 
Thomas Sanderson, and William Dakins. 

John Spenser had many livings. Son of John, gent., he 
was born in Suffolk in 1559. In 1577 he earned his B.A. 
degree at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he re- 
ceived his doctor of divinity degree in 1602. He was rector 
of Aveley and Ardleigh, Essex, of Feversham, Kent, of 
St. Sepulchre's, Newgate, and of Broxtourne, Hertford- 
shire, all close enough to each other for relatively easy 

travel. His wife was a sister of George Cranmer. Another 
close friend of Richard Hooker, he wrote the foreword to 
Hooker's most famous work, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. 
Spenser's flowing style carried figures of speech to great 
lengths. In his sermon at Paul's Cross, "God's Love to 
His Vineyard," he elaborated on the comparison of the 
Church to a vine rooted in Christ, warning the Church in 
elaborate metaphors which ranged from horticulture to 
climate, from fencing to irrigation. 

Roger Fenton, one of the bright young men among 
the Bible scholars, was born in Lancashire in 1565 and 
became a fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. In 1601 
he was rector of St. Stephen's Walbrook, and in 1603 
rector of St. Benet's, Sherehog. Since in 1604 he was also 
chaplain to Sir Thomas Edgerton, the Lord Chancellor, 
he appears to have been favored by the elite of the state. 
As has been observed, many of the translators had patrons 
in high places. 

Fenton's main printed work was A Treatise on Usury, 
in which he described what he called "the usury of na- 
ture, that most important and primitive increase which 
the earth yieldeth in fruits unto man for his seed sown/' 
With this man must not meddle. Usury in terms of in- 
terest on loans was another matter; Fenton doubted its 
virtue even for the benefit of widows and orphans. Yet, 
though he deplored the multiplying coneys of this branch 
of finance, Fenton became the "painful, pious, learned 
and beloved' 1 rector of Chigwell, in Essex a living main- 
tained by those who knew enough to invest wisely. In 
other ways also the ravens came and the manna fell for 
him, because he had friends among the lofty. 

While the sermons of these worthies gather dust on 
their shelves, the English Bible, for us the word of our 
God, stands forever. How could such men as Barlow, 
Spenser, and Fenton have risen to the literary heights 
reached by the King James version? We may say in awe 

and in the words which they so miraculously managed to 
choose for St. Paul, "I am persuaded, that neither death, 
nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor 
things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, 
nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from 
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 


The Oxford Q-roups 

At Oxford the Hebrew group, which worked on the Major 
and the Minor Prophets and on Lamentations, was headed 
by Dr. John Harding, who had just risen to be regius 
professor of Hebrew. With him were John Rainolds, 
Thomas Holland, Richard Kilby, Miles Smith, Richard 
Brett, William Thorne, and Daniel Fairclough. The 
group had frequent meetings in Rainolds' quarters at 
Corpus Christi College. 

Americans often find it difficult to understand the col- 
lege system of Oxford and Cambridge universities. In the 
time of King James, and for long before, each college had 
its own distinct philosophy and was not merely a place 
for students to live but a unit in which each one with 
his special leanings might feel fairly at ease. Colleges dif- 
fered in way of life as well as thought. A head such as 
Rainolds at Corpus Christi might set the tone, but per- 
haps even more he expressed traditions long present, or 
developing trends. 

How the translators may have differed because of their 
college ties is beyond present seeking, but what of Oxford 
itself? Not long before, the university had nurtured Sir 
Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh, and such notable 
Elizabethan writers as John Lyly, Sir Henry Wotton, 
Francis Beaumont, and John Donne. George Chapman 
worked at Oxford on his Homer. At Christ Church Col- 


lege, since 1599, young Robert Burton had been writing 
his massive, magic Anatomy of Melancholy. How much 
did Oxford's literary air inspire the translators? 

One who may have been so inspired was Dr. Thomas 
Holland, who was at once urbane and hidebound, a thor- 
ough Calvinist, yet a prodigy in literature. Born in Shrop- 
shire about 1538, Holland was one of the older translators. 
He traveled abroad but took his degree at Exeter College, 
of which he became master in 1592. Although he often 
refused to act in accord with forms and rules, he opposed 
any novel doctrines or ways of worship. In public he main- 
tained in contrast with the views of Dr. Hadrian Saravia 
and of Bishop Bancroft that bishops were no distinct 
order from presbyters (elders or clergy of a second rank) 
and not at all superior to them. But the bishops let him 
alone, as just Dr. Holland and harmless a renowned old 
codger whom all Oxford loved. 

Of Holland it was said that he was "so familiarly ac- 
quainted with the fathers as if himself had been one of 
them, and so versed in the schoolmen as if he were the 
seraphic doctor," and "so celebrated for his preaching, 
reading, disputing, moderating, and all other excellent 
qualifications that all who knew him commended him, 
and all who heard of him admired him." Even while he 
labored on the Bible he gave much time to fervent prayers 
and meditations, with an ever-growing ardor for heaven. 
His farewell to his fellows, when he went on any long 
journey, was in Latin "I commend you to the love of 
God, and to the hatred of popery and superstition." 

Rainolds the Puritan, whom we already know as the 
father of the new Bible, would have had little use for 
Lyly or Beaumont or any Oxford dramatist. We have 
seen how he repudiated his own youthful play acting. An- 
other serious scholar with his mind on sermons was 
Richard Kilby, who also sought to escape the errors of 
his past. Kilby was born of humble parents at Ratcliffe 


on the Wreake, in Leicestershire. He went to Lincoln 
College, Oxford, where he became a fellow, then rector 
in 1590, and a doctor of divinity in 1596. He repaired the 
library there, making new shelving, and gave it many 
of his own books. In 1601 he was a prebend of Westminster 

In his sermon on "The Burden of a Loaden Con- 
science," Kilby implied that he had liked to sin, and had 
the common pride at having been a sinner, like a modern 
reformed drunkard. Speaking of what he called his "repro- 
bate heart, which being utterly hardened in sin, and void 
of repentance, causeth me to heap wrath upon wrath and 
vengeance upon vengeance to the increasing of mine over- 
lasting torments in hell fire," he pleaded, "all manner of 
people, young and old, take heed by me. Have no more 
Gods but one." 

For, he continued, "Consider well what He hath done 
for you. He made you at the first like unto Himself, in 
wisdom and holiness, and when you were by sin made 
like the devil, and must therefore have been condemned 
to hell torments, God sent His only son who taking unto 
him a body and soul, was a man and suffered great wrong 
and shameful death, to secure your pardon, and to buy 
you out of the devil's bondage, that ye might be renewed 
to the likeness of God ... to the end ye might be fit to 
keep company with all saints in the joys of heaven." Today 
Kilby would be preaching a revivalist gospel. 

In the same sermon he quoted his own bedtime prayer, 
in which he abased himself and at the same time seemed 
confident that he would be all right: "O most mighty 
and most gracious Lord God, I, wretched man, the worst 
of the world, do cry Thy mercy for all my sins, which this 
day or at any time have come out of my heart, by way of 
word, deed or thought. I heartily thank Thee for all the 
blessings which Thou has graciously and plentifully given 


me. . . ." He ended with a blanket petition: "Be merci- 
ful . . . unto all those for whom I ought to pray/* 

Kilby also left us some verses, which you will find in no 
volume of great Elizabethan poems: 

With truth, repentance and right faith 

Mine heart and soul fulfil, 
That 1 may hate all wickedness, 

And cleave fast to Thy will. 

Yet there is some ground for thinking that Kilby was 
among the more precise translators, a stickler for the right 
word, the right phrase. His plain, direct prose style may 
have served those Old Testament prophets who in English 
needed something of his simple glow. We may think of 
him as well-equipped to render the dirges in the Lamenta- 
tions, with their occasional words to lift us out of despair. 
"It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait 
for the salvation of the Lord. . . . Thou drewest near in 
the day that I called upon Thee; Thou saidst, Fear not." 

Miles Smith of this Oxford group was perhaps the most 
useful of all the learned men. In the end he went over the 
whole Bible as an editor, taking the greatest pains from 
first to last. He wrote the preface once printed in all King 
James Bibles, which deserves more reading today and 
ought to be bound into current editions. Yet Smith "was 
never heard to speak of the work with any attribution to 
himself more than the rest," and he wrote of his fellow 
translators, "There were many chosen that were greater 
in other men's eyes than in their own and that sought the 
truth rather than their own praise." 

Like John Rainolds, Smith was a Calvinist who con- 
formed enough to meet the Church of England halfway. 
We could hardly call him a Puritan. He made strong ob- 
jection to sycophancy, but wrote in favor of churchmen's 
acceptance of their lawful fees. After his own ascent to a 


high place, he remained humble, and broke off a most 
serious discourse to see a poor minister who wished to 
speak with him, saying, "But he must not wait, lest we 
should seem to take state upon us/' 

Because he was the final critic who looked for flaws and 
smoothed out the whole translation, there is perhaps more 
of Dr. Miles Smith in the King James version than of any 
other man. Some critics said that his own style was heavy, 
involved, rough. Yet some of his writing showed a succinct 
grace, and clearly he had a good editor's sense of united 
effort when he wrote, in comment on Ephesians 5:18, "As 
in the play of tossing the ball, it is not enough for one of 
the players to be cunning in throwing of it, but the other 
players also must take it ... handsomely, firmly, or else 
the ball will go down." Smith took "handsomely and 
firmly*' what the others wrote; for that at least his literary 
skill sufficed. As one said of him, "He ... set forth the 
new and exact translation. . . . He delivered the Scrip- 
tures ... to Englishmen in English/' 

At the head of the Greek group in Oxford was Thomas 
Ravis, Dean of Christ Church. His colleagues were Richard 
Edes, Dean of Worcester; Sir Henry Savile; John Perin; 
Ralph Ravens; John Harmer; Giles Thomson; and George 
Abbot, Dean of Winchester. Their portion was the Four 
Gospels, the Acts, and the Apocalypse. 

Of all the learned men only George Abbot reached the 
summit of an English churchman's desires on earth. He 
was also the only one of the translators who ever killed 
a man. 

Thomas Ravis was haughty and harsh; at the Hampton 
Court meeting he spoke at some length against the Puri- 
tans. Born in Old Maiden, Surrey, about 1560, he went to 
the Westminster school. In 1575, sponsored by William 
Cecil, Lord Burghley, he applied to Christ Church, Ox- 
ford, a college founded by Cardinal Wolsey and famous 


for its Gothic hall. There the dean and chapter declined 
to admit young Ravis for lack of room, and only a strong 
letter from Burghley got him in. Twenty years later he 
became a doctor of divinity, and in 1596 dean of the 
college. He was the first from the Westminster school 
to become a dean, and "always continued both by his 
counsel and countenance a most especial encourager of 
the studies of all deserving scholars belonging to that 

Meanwhile Ravis had preached in or near Oxford "with 
great liking/' Rector at Merstham, in Surrey, and of All 
Hallows Barking, he was in 1593 a prebend of West- 
minster. Thus he was of the inner circles among church- 
men, among the fastest to rise in the Church, and a sharp 
foil to the Puritan Rainolds of the Hebrew group. As 
chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, he had dealt sharply 
with the Puritan leader Cartwright. 

While Dean of Christ Church, Ravis had administra- 
tive troubles when he compelled the members of the col- 
lege to forego their "allowance of commons," that is, the 
customary meals at the college tables, in exchange for two 
shillings a week. Some who opposed the change he ex- 
pelled, others he sent before the council, and others he 
put in prison. "A grave and good man/' he was able at 
getting work done and considered a model for lesser folk 
to revere, but clearly not a man without choler. In retro- 
spect we may think him an odd choice for chairman of the 
group to work on the writing that contains the heart of 
Christian teaching. 

The most handsome of the translators was tall Sir Henry 
Savile, who had a fair, clear, rosy complexion as fine as any 
lady's. His portrait shows more round flesh than accords 
with our notion of a handsome man. He was born in 1549 
at Over Bradley near Halifax, Yorkshire, a younger son 
without a square foot of land. After his studies at Brase- 
nose College, Oxford, he traveled in 1578 through Europe, 

where he gained a general acquaintance with the learned 
men and through them obtained a number of rare Greek 
manuscripts. For a time he was tutor to Queen Elizabeth 
in Greek and mathematics. She liked him very much. 

Then he was Dean of Carlisle and Provost of Eton. The 
most learned Englishman in profane literature of Queen 
Elizabeth's reign, Savile was thought by some to be "too 
much inflated with his learning and riches/' As Warden 
of Merton College he was a severe governor, oppressed his 
young scholars grievously, and was duly hated by them. 
In a different sphere, he was skillful with gardens and 
cherished an orchard and a nursery of young plants. 

Oddly, in view of his literary appreciation, Savile could 
not abide wits. When a young scholar was recommended 
to him as a good wit, he exclaimed, "Out upon him; I'll 
have nothing to do with him; give me a plodding student. 
If I would look for wits, I would go to Newgate; there be 
the wits." If he preferred plodding to wit, he was wise 
in his own eyes and wholly correct in church doctrines. 
Like Saravia a friend of the serious Hooker, he translated 
the history of Cornelius Tacitus, gave learned lectures 
on Euclid, and edited the works of St. Chrysostom. About 
the latter work there was to be a rather unseemly row 
between two other Bible translators. 

On September 21, 1604, Savile was knighted by King 
James at an Eton College banquet. Under James knight- 
hood was no great honor; he awarded honors in large 
numbers, charging high fees in a sort of royal racket. A 
rarer gift came from Savile himself; he presented an early 
edition of the Gospels in Russian to the new Oxford 
library named for Sir Thomas Bodley. Also he founded 
two professorships, in mathematics and astronomy. 

About Giles Thomson, Dean of Windsor, little is known 
beyond the fact that he was a fellow student of Lancelot 
Andrewes at the Merchant Tailors' school. Andrewes had 


King James I of England and VI of Scotland, whose royal command 
in support of the Puritan proposal for a new Bible translation per- 
suaded the bishops of the Church of England to approve the project. 

Doctor John Rainolds, Puri- 
tan, spoke at Hampton Court 
of the need for a new transla- 
tion. Called the most learned 
man in England, Rainolds 
worked with the Oxford group 
that translated the Old Tes- 
tament, but he died before 
the new Bible was completed. 

Richard Bancroft, Bishop of 
London, as a high churchman 
opposed Rainolds' Puritan 
proposals yet moved with en- 
ergy for the new Bible when 
the King approved. After the 
death of John Whitgift, Ban- 
croft was rewarded with the 
Archbishopric of Canterbury. 

George Abbot, among the 
New Testament translators at 
Oxford, followed Bancroft as 
Bishop and became Arch- 
bishop in time to oppose 
the tyranny of Laud. His en- 
graved portrait is from the 
title page of his book, A Brief 
Description of the Whole 
World., as published in 1656. 

Jbflwv &&Mffftfjrt'ljWW gwW^M 

ni^mi &]&&)#* t#m TWSJ& 

Lancelot Andrewes, Dean of 
Westminster, chose many 
other translators and led the 
Westminster group translat- 
ing from the Hebrew. An- 
drewes had been a chaplain 
to Elizabeth; he was a friend 
of Bacon and Spenser, and 
young John Milton wrote his 
elegy, when, in 1626, he died. 

Thomas Ravis, Dean of Christ 
Church and later Warden of 
New College, was IK: ad of the 
New Testament translators at 
Oxford. A high churchman, 
Ravis opposed Puritan teach- 
ings. He signed the document 
that asked promotion for an- 
other translator, Dean Thorne. 

Sir Henry Savile, considered 
the handsomest of the trans- 
lators, had tutored Queen 
Eli/abeth in Greek and math- 
ematics. Provost of Eton, then 
Warden of Merton, he worked 
with the Greek group at Ox- 
ford, where lie let lured on the 
Greek philosophers and Euclid. 

Thomas Bilson, Bishop of 
Winchester, worked with the 
Cambridge translators and 
was one of the two final edi- 
tors. His high church views 
and zeal for the Establishment 
balanced the Puritan leanings 
of Miles Smith, who followed 
him in the see of Winchester. 

Doctor Miles Smith worked in 
the Oxford group that trans- 
lated the Old Testament from 
the Hebrew. He also served 
as final editor of the whole 
translation and wrote the elo- 
quent preface, "Address to 
the Reader/' which was 
part of the 1611 edition. 

C.t>l)\)'i^ht; relmnlut'fd /;y [lermhtion oj the Con- 
troller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. 

The Thome Document, from the Public Record Office, London, proves 
that William Thorne, Dean of Chichester, was among the translators. 
In it others of the learned men petitioned for Thome's preferment. 

a wide knowledge of the scholars throughout England 
and good judgment in weighing their talents. 

Passing over for the present those of this Oxford New 
Testament group about whom we know little, we come 
to George Abbot, the translator who in after years killed 
a man. He was born October 29, 1562, at Guildford, 
Surrey, some twenty miles from London, a son of Maurice 
Abbot, a clothier, and his wife Alice March. Both were 
staunch Protestants, good people, perhaps humdrum, but 
with longings for something grander. 

When Alice March was pregnant in 1562, she had a 
portent of what was to come. She dreamed that if she could 
catch and eat a jack or pike, her child would prove to be 
a son, not a daughter, and would rise to the heights. Crafty 
as she drew water from the river hard by, she entrapped a 
young pike in her pitcher. By promptly cooking and eat- 
ing the fish she fulfilled her dream; God must have given 
the pike to her. The birth of the boy was a holy event, a 
marvel to the good gossips of the town. Persons hearing 
of Alice's success, that she had improved the omen, offered 
to sponsor the boy and aided in his schooling. At sixteen 
George entered Balliol College, Oxford. 

In 1597 he was a doctor of divinity and Master of Uni- 
versity College. Many attended his sermons at St. Mary's, 
Oxford. Soon he was vice-chancellor of the university and 
Dean of Winchester. A man of morose manners and a 
sour aspect, he was prosy, pious, devout, a hard worker, 
always ready to assert firmly what he believed, but narrow 
of mind and full of rancor, in marked contrast to Lance- 
lot Andrewes, who was his friend. Seeking to win the 
Puritans by sometimes preaching Calvinistic or Augus- 
tinian doctrines, he yet maintained the fixed order of the 
Church and was dogged in upholding the rule of the 

Abbot published in 1599 A Brief Description of the 


Whole World. In this work he wrote: "In very many 
parts of these northern countries of America there is very 
fit and opportune fishing some pretty way within the sea, 
... A huge space of earth hath not hitherto by any Chris- 
tian to any purpose been discovered, but by those near 
the sea coast it may be gathered that they all which do 
there inhabit are men rude and uncivil, without the 
knowledge of God. Yet on the northwest part of America 
some of our English men going through the straits of 
Magellan and passing to the north by Hispana Nova have 
touched on a country where they have found good enter- 
tainment, and the King thereof yielded himself to the 
subjection of the Queen of England, whereupon they 
termed it Nova Albion. . . . They are marvellously ad- 
dicted to witchcraft and adoration of devils, from which 
they could not be persuaded to abstain even in the very 
presence of our countrymen/' 

In 1599 there had been a flurry about witchcraft, more 
in Scotland than in England. King James had published 
his book, Demonology, in 1597, the year in which he 
stopped the worst of the Scottish witch hunts, which had 
been rampant since 1590. The clamor about witchcraft 
had already lessened in England. Until comparatively 
modern times witchcraft had been rife in all ages and in all 
places; the Old Testament, as we know, has many refer- 
ences to it. Abbot's mention of witchcraft in America indi- 
cates that, like most people, he believed in its existence 
and was against it. What seems to have stirred him about 
it as practiced by savages in America was that they had 
dared to go ahead with it in the presence of enlightened 

There is nothing to be found in Abbot's book more 
lively than the passage quoted. What he wrote was second- 
hand, and his style was dull, though it sufficed for what 
he had to say. One more sentence has contemporary in- 
terest: "The manner of government which of late years 

hath been used in Russia is very barbarous and little less 
than tyrannous/' 

At University College in 1600 he gave "An Exposition 
upon the Prophet Jonah/' one of "those lectures which 
with great solemnity are kept both winter and summer on 
the Thursday mornings early, where sometimes before 
daylight the praises of God are sounded out in the great 
congregation." In this he said: "They rowed to bring 
the ship back unto the land. The word which is used 
here ... in the Hebrew doth signify they did dig, either 
because men do thrust into water with oars as in digging 
they do with other instruments on the land ... or be- 
cause as men in digging do turn this way and that way and 
stir and move the ground, so they stirred up their wits 
and beat their brains and thoughts to free him (Jonah) 
from the danger. . . . God hath so coupled all creatures 
to mankind, with a chain of strong dependence, that the 
being of them is much suitable to the flourishing or fading 
of the other/' 

Did the Oxford groups, in faith and devotion, dig and 
stir to free the Bible from obscurity? It may be hard for 
us to discern in gruff Ravis, stern Savile, and dull Abbot 
talents enough to convey to us all that we know of the 
loving-kindness of Christ. 


The Cambridge Qroups 

At Cambridge the Hebrew group had as chairman Ed- 
ward Lively, the father of thirteen children, whose weal 
and woe we have discussed. The others were John Richard- 
son, Laurence Chaderton, Francis Dillingham, Thomas 
Harrison, Roger Andrewes, brother of Lancelot, Robert 
Spalding, and Andrew Bing. This group dealt with the 
books from I Chronicles through Ecclesiastes. To it, there- 
fore, we are indebted for the Psalms. 

Cambridge had given its degree to Christopher Mar- 
lowe, the free-thinking dramatist said to have been a 
"scorner of God's word/' to whom "Moses was but a 
juggler/' Protestants "hypocritical asses." Men, he said, 
most needed "not to be afraid of Bugbears/' Other famous 
Cantabrigians of the era were Francis Bacon, Edmund 
Spenser, Thomas Campion, John Fletcher, Robert Greene, 
Thomas Lodge, and Thomas Nash, whom Cambridge ex- 
pelled. Their lyrics fill the books of Elizabethan verse. 

Campion's "Cherry Ripe" begins: 

There is a garden in her face 
Where roses and white lilies blow. 

Yet he could write also sacred verses still read today: 

Never weather beaten sail more willing bent to shore, 
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more, 

Than my wearied spirit now longs to fly out of my 

troubled breast; 
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest! 

One of Thomas Lodge's famous lyrics begins: 

Like to the clear in highest sphere 
Where all imperial glory shines, 
Of selfsame color is her hair, 
Whether unfolded or in twines, 
Heigh ho, fair Rosaline . . . 
Heigh ho, would she were mine. 

The love poems of the Song of Songs, which this Cam- 
bridge group put into English, are far more lush and 

The poetry of the Bible has no rhymes, but is what we 
might call free verse, with balanced lines, mainly in 
couplets. Thus in Psalm 23 Cambridge gave us: 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days 

of my life, 
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. 

The Geneva Bible read: 

Doubtless kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days 

of my life, 
And I shall remain a long season in the house of the Lord. 

Compare likewise the King James Bible's, 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, 
From whence cometh my help, 

with the Geneva Bible's, 

I will lift mine eyes unto the mountains, 
From whence my help shall come. 

The Cambridge Hebrew group had a goodly knack 
with English words and sounds. 

One fact that stands out about John Richardson of 

Cambridge is that he was fat. Those of another persuasion 
called him a "fat bellied Arminian." As such he might 
have fought with Laurence Chaderton, the Puritan, but 
there is no record of conflict. These scholars bore and 
forebore. Thin, acrid men alone could hardly have done 
over the Bible to suit the fully fed. 

John Richardson was born at Linton, seven miles from 
Cambridge, about 1564. The place and the date attest 
once more that these learned men were nearly all youngish 
or of middle age, and came from the regions about Lon- 
don, Oxford, and Cambridge. They were a cross sec- 
tion, not of the English people or even of the English 
clergy, but of the scholars who happened to be at hand 
for the venture. Richardson went to Clare Hall, Cam- 
bridge, where he must have known well Richard Thom- 
son, "Dutch" Thomson, the other Arminian, with the 
reputation for drink. In 1595 he became rector of Upwell, 
Norfolk, and two years later was a doctor of divinity. A 
foremost Hebraist, he was also a popular theologian. He 
seems to have been one of those fat men whom most people 

Francis Dillingham was born at Deane, Bedfordshire, 
went to Christ's College, Cambridge, and was a good 
linguist. Though he never married, he believed strongly 
in marriage for other clerics, and wrote much on a sub- 
ject then the theme of argument in the English Church. 
In 1603 just before he started work on the Bible, he pub- 
lished A Quartron of Reasons, Composed by Dr. Hill, 
Unquartered, and Proved a Quartron of Follies. Dr. Hill 
had railed against Protestant ministers "being so much 
occupied about wooing, wenching, and wiving, taking 
upon them to be doctors of divinity and husbands too." 
Dillingham countered: "Papists teach that ministers may 
not have wives. Is this catholic? Many hundred years after 
Christ priests had wives." 

Queen Elizabeth had allowed the clergy of the English 

Church to marry. However fellows of the colleges, if they 
married, still were required to resign. Dillingham felt 
he had a message for those who fell into troublous thoughts 
about marriage. So he published A Golden Key Opening 
the Lock to Eternal Happiness. It is an earnest of the 
guides to good thinking, to peace of mind, soul and body, 
in our day. To be happy a man should simply keep his 
wife subject unto him. 

"It is a principle in nature," Dillingham wrote: "marry 
with thy equals. By ... unequal marriages, how many 
men have become subject to their wives? . . . May not 
men nowadays see wives on horses, and husbands walking 
as servants on the ground?" No Englishman with self- 
respect should stand that. 

"That a man may obtain a wife that will be in subjec- 
tion unto him," he went on, "he must choose a prudent 
and wise wife, for prudence and wisdom respecteth per- 
sons, place, and manner of doing a thing. . . . Prudence 
teacheth the wife that her husband is her head, and so 
subjecteth her self unto him. No marvel then though many 
men have not their wives in subjection, for they have 
married fools which know not their place. ... A wise 
woman, saith Solomon . . . buildeth the house, but the 
foolish destroyeth it with her own hands/' The King 
James version (Proverbs 14:1) says: "Every wise woman 
buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with 
her hands." 

Dillingham went on: "He that will have a wife in sub- 
jection, let him match with a religious woman, for religion 
teacheth her subjection. Be not unequally yoked, saith 
St. Paul, II Corinthians 6:14, with infidels." (The King 
James Bible says, "yoked together with unbelievers.") "A 
man of religion," said Dillingham, "that matcheth with 
an irreligious woman is unequally matched, and therefore 
his yoke needs be heavy. A house divided cannot stand. 
How should that house then stand where man and wife 


are divided, one drawing this way, another that way? . . . 
The misery of this age is that . . . men inquire after 
wealth, not after religion in a woman. Hence it is that 
some live discontentedly, and come in the end to great^ 

This was all sound advice from a young, wifeless man, 
who knew nothing of our modern equal rights for women. 
The viewpoint of Dillingham is often close to that of the 
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes which he helped to translate. 
What he himself published is wholly in accord with the 
male nature of the Bible and with the thought of his own 
age. Though Dillingham doubtless hoped his sermons 
would change the ways of love, unwise, luckless men have 
gone on wooing and wiving foolish females to this day. 

Though he argued in print with high churchmen, it 
would be wrong to think of Dillingham as a Puritan, for 
he conformed strictly to the Church of England. He was 
a typical Elizabethan except that he never indulged in 
profane love. 

Thomas Harrison, who was indeed a Puritan, was born 
in London in 1555, and went to the Merchant Tailors' 
school, where he was second in learning only to Lancelot 
Andrewes. A graduate of St. John's College, and Master 
of Trinity College, Cambridge, he had exquisite skill in 
Hebrew and Greek idiom. The renowned Dr. Whittaker, 
for the excellence of his verses, called Harrison his poet. 
Such a man would have been of much service in the work 
on the Psalms. There was at least one poet among the 
translators, though none of his poems have survived. 

Andrew Bing was a tall, smiling young man. Born in 
Cambridge in 1574, he went to Peterhouse, and then be- 
came professor of Hebrew in Trinity College, Cambridge. 
Later he was subdean of York for many years. Only thirty 
when King James chose him to work on the Bible, he out- 
lived nearly all his fellow workers. 

The New Testament group at Cambridge, headed by 
John Duport, included William Branthwaite, Jeremy Rad- 
cliffe, Samuel Ward, Andrew Downes, John Bois, 1 and 
a second man named Ward, Robert. It translated the 
Apocrypha, and in the long run might have seemed in- 
consequential, except that one o its members, John Bois, 
was a man fully worth knowing, who played an important 
part in the final revision of the entire Bible. 

John Duport, son of Thomas Duport, Shepshed, Leices- 
tershire, was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and 
then master. He earned his doctorate in divinity in 1590, 
and in 1595 became precentor of St. Paul's. His wife, 
doubtless well subject to him if his colleague Dillingham 
spoke for him, was Rachel, daughter of Richard Cox, 
Bishop of Ely. By her he had two sons, one of whom was 
also a noted scholar. Dr. Duport was a learned man of 
high standing in England. 

William Branthwaite took his B.A. at Clare Hall, Cam- 
bridge, in 1582, and his D.D. at Emmanuel College in 
1598. He was Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cam- 
bridge. An extant letter from Branthwaite to Sir Thomas 
Wilson, who had the ear of a lordly patron, begins with 
concern for the health of the recipient. Branthwaite 
wished that "my letters might bear bezoar or unicorn or 
some other more sovereign cordial either to cure your 
malady or to comfort against the fits and encounters 
thereof/' Bezoar stone was a sort of charm against poisons, 
and though there are none of these stones in the Bible, 
they were, as Branthwaite shows, in the thought of the 
age. The mythical unicorn is found in nine Bible verses. 
Its horn, if one could have got it, would have been used 
to cast out poisons; the practice of doctors in those days 
was still largely magic. 

"There be three physicians/* Branthwaite went on, 

1 Often spelled Boys and evidently so Anglicized in pronunciation, 


"which the state o your body (if I mistake not) requires 
should always attend you and they are as good fellows and 
friends as physicians . . . Dr. diet, quiet, and merry 
man. . . . Under diet I also comprehend those other 
things which the art and language of physicians express 
thereby as change of air, moderate exercise, and propor- 
tionable sleep, and the rest. For the first methinks it should 
be very convenient for you both to refresh spirits and to 
confirm and continue health, especially some little re- 
move out of London now and then in the hot months of 
July and August. . . . Many times it falleth out that a 
strong mind endangereth a weak body." In this letter 
Branthwaite was seeking an advance for himself and aid 
for his college, in the best fawning manner of scholars 
of the time. 

Samuel Ward, son of John, of Durham, was a timid 
young Puritan, early intent on putting down his own 
sins. He was born in 1577, went to St. John's College, Cam- 
bridge, and was fellow at Sidney Sussex College in 1599. 
In 1603 he was town preacher at St. Mary's le Tower in 
Ipswich. The next year he married Deborah Bolton, a 
widow, of Isleham, Cambridgeshire. At college he kept 
a diary, still extant, which reminds us a bit of the young 
Boswell. Apparently he was the youngest of the translators. 

On May 13, 1595, in his diary he condemned himself 
for "My desire of preferment over much." Often he ad- 
dressed himself in the second person. Thus that same day 
he wrote, "Thy wandering regard in the chapel at prayer 
time." May 17, "Thy gluttony the night before." May 23, 
"My sleeping without remembering my last thought, which 
should have been of God." May 26, "Thy dullness this 
day in hearing God's word . . . thy sin of pride . . . thy 
by-thoughts at prayer time same evening." June 14, "My 
negligence ... in sleeping immediately after dinner . . . 
in hearing another sermon sluggishly." June 12, "My too 
much drinking after supper." June 22, "My immoderate 


diet of eating cheese/* June 27, "My going to drink wine, 
and that in the tavern, before I called upon God." July 8, 
"My immoderate laughter in the hall/' July 15, "My in- 
continent thoughts at Hobson's." 

The next year young Ward wrote, July 19, 1596, "My 
gluttony in eating plums and raisins and drinking so 
much after supper/' July 23, 'Tor eating so many plums, 
although thou heard that many died of surfeits." August 
6, "My longing after damsons when I made my vow not 
to eat in the orchard/' August 13, "My intemperate eating 
of damsons, also my intemperate eating of cheese after 
supper/' August 21, "My long sleeping in the morning." 

As an eater of damson plums and cheese he may endear 
himself to many of us, as well as for his sluggish hearing 
of sermons. This young would-be divine was human and 
loving, without any really mortal sins. Of him one said, 
"He was a Moses not only for slowness of speech [he 
stuttered] but otherwise meekness of nature." 

At the time he began work on the Bible, he sadly told 
himself in his diary: "Remember, on Wednesday January 
i8th was the day when the surplice was first urged by the 
archbishop to be brought into Emmanuel College. God 
grant that worse things do not follow the so strict urging 
of this indifferent ceremony. Alas, we little expected that 
King James would have been the first permitter of it to be 
brought into our college to make us a derision to so many 
that bear us no good will." Doddridge said of Samuel 
Ward, "His language is generally proper, elegant, and 
nervous," with a mixture of fancy in his writings. 

From him we get glimpses of the unsure status of many 
of the clergy. They were often shaken men amid shaking 
forces. The Bible task was solid, while the churches swayed 
with fears as the winds of clashing doctrines swept around 

The vigor and daring that young Samuel Ward lacked, 
Andrew Downes possessed. He appears to have been the 

only one of the learned men who got any money out of 
King James. He was born about 1549, and went to gram- 
mar school in Shrewsbury. At St. John's College, Cam- 
bridge, Downes was distinguished for his Greek scholar- 
ship. One who heard his lectures on Demosthenes said 
that he was ushered into the presence of a tall, long-faced, 
elderly person with ruddy complexion and bright eyes, 
who sat with his legs on the table. Downes at once gave 
his long, learned talk without stirring his feet or body. He 
was one of the few who quarreled with his fellows. He was 
sure of himself. 

John Bois (or Boys) was in some ways the most vivid of 
the translators. At any rate we have more about his private 
life and his ways of doing than we have of others. His 
grandfather, also John, was a clothier of Halifax, York- 
shire. The son, William, father of our John, was born and 
brought up there, studied music and surgery, went to 
Cambridge, and thought of the Church until he broke 
with Rome. Then he settled on a farm at Nettlestead near 
Hadley; until, on joining the Church of England, he 
became rector at West Stow. He married Mirabel Pooley. 

John Bois the translator was born January 3, 1560. His 
father taught him Hebrew when he was five years old. 
Later, John walked four miles a day to school at Hadley, 
where he knew John Overall, the future Dean of St. 
Paul's, and likewise a translator. At length he went to St. 
John's College, Cambridge, where Andrew Downes, the 
chief lecturer in Greek, read to his students twelve of the 
hardest Greek authors. 

When Bois was chosen a fellow of Magdalen, he was 
lying ill of smallpox. Because Downes was careful for the 
new fellow's seniority, he had Bois carried on his sickbed, 
wrapped in blankets, to be entered. Bois had meant to 
study physic and had bought many books "in that faculty." 
He went to the university library at four in the morning 
and stayed until eight at night without any breaks. In 

reading the books on physic, "He was conceited that what- 
soever disease he read of, he was troubled with the same 
himself. By which sickness of the brain it pleased God to 
cure the church of the want of so good a member as he 
afterwards proved/' For ten years Bois was chief Greek 
lecturer in the college, reading his lecture in his chamber 
at four in the morning to many fellows and others. 

He succeeded his father as rector at West Stow in 1591, 
but resigned that living when his mother went to live 
with her brother Pooley. Up to this time John seems to 
have been his mother's boy, married to his thoughts, but 
romance was thrust upon him. A Mr. Holt, rector of Box- 
worth near Cambridge, when about to die left the advow- 
son, or right of presentation, to that living "in part of a 
portion" to one of his daughters. He asked some of his 
friends that, "if it might be by them procured/' Bois 
"might become his successor by the marriage of his daugh- 
ter/' Bois went to look her over and soon after, "they 
taking liking each of the other," he received the living, 
and was "instituted by my lord's grace of Canterbury," 
who was then Whitgift. The marriage often vexed his 
spirit, but at thirty-six Bois was old enough to know his 
own mind. 

Before he was married, "that he might be as well clear 
of the suspicion as the fault of having a wife and a fellow- 
ship at once, he desired three fellows of his own college 
to publish the banns on matrimony on three Sundays in 
his own parish church." The college, when he had to 
resign as fellow, gave him a hundred pounds. 

Though for some years he had a rupture, Bois was 
robust. An early biographer described him as having an 
"able, active body for walking, riding, and, in his youth, 
for swimming." Often he walked out of his college in the 
morning to dine with his mother in Suffolk twenty miles 
away. While walking he took a book to read, if he fell into 
company he liked not. On horseback he used by the way 

to meditate on doubts, wherein he might, propounding 
them, require satisfaction of his learned friends in Cam- 
bridge. There is a legend, too, that he did some of the 
Bible work on horseback. Amid all this study he found 
time to beget four sons and two daughters. 

When he began to know his neighbors in the country, 
they met Friday afternoons to discuss and resolve their 
scholarly doubts. As a husband and father, he kept some 
young scholar in his house as well for the teaching of 
his own children and the poorer sorts of the town people, 
also "because many knights and gentlemen of quality 
did importune him to take their children to board with 
him and to take some care in their training, as well for 
learning as manners." Thus Bois was the only translator 
who took in boarders. 

"But as by this means the scale of his living was sunk 
daily lower by the greatness of the weight, so that of his 
estate was by the emptiness become a very unequal counter- 
poise. For he, minding nothing but his book, and his 
wife, through want of age and experience, not being able 
sufficiently to manage things aright, he was, ere he was 
aware, fallen into debt. The weight whereof (though 
it was not great) when he began to feel, he forthwith 
parted with his darling (I mean his library) which he sold 
(considering what it cost him) I believe to nigh as much 
loss as his debt amounted to, for the discharge whereof 
he sold it/' 

Never able to keep his wife subject to him, as Francis 
Dillingham had advised, perhaps he thought often of 
Paul's letter to Timothy: "Let the woman learn in silence 
with all subjection." Paul also declared that if a woman 
will learn anything, let her ask her husband at home. 
Clearly Mrs. Bois was a thorn in her husband's flesh. 

"There grew some discontent betwixt him and his wife, 
insomuch that I have heard (but never from himself) 
that he did once intend to travel beyond the seas. But 


religion and conscience soon gave those thoughts the 
check, and made it be with him and his wife as chlrurgeons 
say it's with a broken bone: if once well set, the stronger 
for a fracture." So after this strain or fracture he went on 
letting his wife handle the money as before. 

A most exact grammarian, Bois had read sixty gram- 
mars. He had only two meals, dinner and supper, betwixt 
which he never so much as drank, unless, upon trouble 
with wind, some small quantity of acqua vitae (brandy?) 
and sugar. After meat he was careful almost to curiosity 
in picking and rubbing his teeth, esteeming that a special 
preservative to health, by which means he carried to his 
grave almost a Hebrew alphabet of teeth. Then he used 
to sit or walk an hour or more to digest his meat before 
he would go to his study. He fasted sometimes twice a 
week, or once in three weeks. Later he never studied be- 
tween supper and bed, but spent two hours at least with 
friends, hearing and telling harmless delightful stories 
whereof he was exceedingly full. He studied standing, 
except when he eased himself upon his knees; but he 
never studied in the draft from a window, and never 
went to bed with cold feet. 

Respectful of superiors, he was loving of equals, familiar 
with inferiors, though humility made him think not many 
below himself. He gave and forgave, being hospitable to 
strangers, real to friends, a just keeper of his promises. 
Prudently he refrained from meddling in other men's 
matters. A most careful, affectionate father, if displeased 
he denied the children his blessing morning and evening 
when they requested it, sometimes on two days for reasons 
best known to himself. As a most loving husband he had 
suffered, but he still committed the whole government of 
the house to his wife, never encroaching upon the woman's 
part in economic discipline. 

In his piety he always knelt with his family on bare 
bricks. Often he prayed while he was walking, for he 

approved of frequent, rather long prayers. A most dili- 
gent, attentive hearer of sermons, he endeavored when 
he preached to be rightly understood even of his meanest 

There we have a sketch of a devout Bible-maker, with 
his virtues and his crotchets, his wind and his firmness, 
his liking for details, and his reserves of strength. Through 
all his household straits, about his wife, about money, 
about all sorts of junctures, he prepared himself to for- 
ward the Bible in English, for the Bible takes up those 
troubles and affords comfort to the distraught. These 
learned men were more than aloof, cloistered saints. 
Though versed in tongues, they were also just folks. 

The six groups formed a kind of loose congress or 
council, meeting in the three places, Westminster, Oxford, 
and Cambridge. All were staunchly against the papists, 
but being all against something is not enough to unite 
people; they must unite in being for something real to 
them. These learned men were for a fresh Bible, and as 
scholars they were also for Hebrew, Greek, and English, 
for a working union of tongues. Sometimes jealous of each 
other, in the manner of scholars at all times, they kept 
their conflicts subject to their basic aims, which were 
broadly at one. And though they brought to the project 
varied points of view, they ultimately had to choose. 



Starting the Work 

The translators went to work with zeal and forethought, 
here slowly and there fast. Edward Lively at Cambridge 
was an organizer and planner on whom all the Hebrew 
group there, and others too, could depend. Lancelot 
Andrewes, Dean of Westminster, was ardent and busy. 
These two were foremost among the directors. 

John Overall, the prosy Dean of St. Paul's who had a 
wife on whom he must keep an eye; Hadrian Saravia, 
the most strict of the high churchmen; Laurence Chader- 
ton, the grave Puritan, and John Rainolds, the Puritan 
father of the King James Bible; William Barlow, Dean 
of Chester, who wrote of the Hampton Court meeting, 
and Miles Smith who saw the work through from first to 
last; John Layfield who had been to the New World; 
Richard Thomson the Arminian who drank his fill daily; 
Francis Dillingham who knew what a wife should be 
though he never had one; stern Thomas Ravis the Dean 
of Christ Church; handsome plump Sir Henry Savile 
whom his students disliked; George Abbot the dull plodder 
who rose beyond all the others because his mother caught 
and ate a pike, and Samuel Ward the Puritan sinner with 
remorse of conscience; Andrew Downes who was forth- 
right and full of vigor but jealous; and John Bois the man 
of all work who has shown us how they all conferred 
these were among the translators who stood out. 

Yet we must suspect that many of the rest, about whom 
we know too little, may have given much to the King 
James version as it stands. They were weavers of a tough, 
pliant fabric, full of figures, conceits, and subtle shadings, 
which had to withstand the wear and tear of ages. Each 
insight counted. The abstract and the concrete had to 
blend in the one immense design. 

When the three groups met at their respective centers, 
they had a set of guiding principles which Bishop Ban- 
croft, with advice from others, had prepared or at least 
approved. We must credit the valiant, ambitious Bancroft 
with being able to choose and manage firmly. All looked 
up to him, even those who deplored him and winced at 
his methods. He doubtless consulted a good deal with 
Dr. Andrewes, described as sweet and smiling, who was 
directly under him to handle details. 

The rules which the powers of Church and state com- 
posed were as follows: 

i. The ordinary Bible read in church, commonly called the 

Bishops' Bible, to be followed and as little altered as the 

truth, of the original will permit. 
s>. The names of the prophets and the holy writers with the 

other names of the text to be retained as nigh as may be, 

accordingly as they were vulgarly used. 

3. The old ecclesiastical words to be kept, viz. the word 
"church" not to be translated "congregation." (The Greek 
word can be translated either way.) 

4. When a word hath divers significations, that to be kept 
which hath been most commonly used by most of the an^ 
dent fathers. 

5. The division of the chapters to be altered either not at all 
or as little as may be. 

6. No marginal notes at all to be affixed, but only for the ex- 
planation of the Hebrew or Greek words, which cannot 
without some circumlocution be so briefly and fitly ex- 
pressed in the text. 

7. Such quotations of places to be marginally set down as 


shall serve for the fit reference of one scripture to another. 

8. Every particular man of each company to take the same 
chapter or chapters, and having translated or amended 
them severally by himself, where he thinketh good, all to 
meet together to confer when they have done, and agree 
for their parts what shall stand. 

9. As any one company hath dispatched any one book in this 
manner they shall send it to the rest, to be considered of 
seriously and judiciously, for His Majesty is very careful in 
this point. 

10. If any company upon the review of the book so sent doubt 
or differ upon any place, to send them word thereof with 
the place, and withal send the reasons; to which if they 
consent not, the difference to be compounded at the gen- 
eral meeting which is to be of the chief persons of each 
company at the end of the work. (Thus in the end they 
all had to agree enough to let all readings pass.) 

11. When any place of special obscurity be doubted of, letters 
to be directed by authority to send to any learned man in 
the land for his judgment of such a place. 

12. Letters to be sent from every bishop to the rest of his clergy, 
admonishing them of his translation in hand, and to move 
and charge as many as being skillful in the tongues and 
having taken pains in that way, to send his particular 
observations to the company, either at Westminster, Cam- 
bridge, or Oxford. (This indicates that many must have 
aided in the work.) 

13. The directors of each company to be the deans of West- 
minster and Chester for that place, and the King's profes- 
sors in the Hebrew or Greek in either university. 

14. These translations to be used when they agree better with 
the text than the Bishops' Bible Tyndale's, Matthew's, 
Coverdale's, Whitchurch's (Great Bible), Geneva, 

15. Besides the said directors before mentioned, three or four 
of the most ancient and grave divines in either of the uni- 
versities, not employed in translating, to be assigned by the 
vice-chancellor, upon conference with the rest of the heads, 
to be overseers of the translation, as well Hebrew as Greek, 
for the better observation of the fourth rule above specified. 


Some historians have said that nothing came o the 
plan for overseers. But a letter, dated April 19, 1605, from 
Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, to Sir Thomas 
Lake, secretary to the king, refers to Dr. George Ryves, 
"warden of New College in Oxford and one of the over- 
seers of that part of the New Testament that is being 
translated out of Greek." The king had said, as we have 
seen, that any vacant living worth more than twenty 
pounds a year should be reserved for a translator. Bishop 
Bilson, himself one of those who reviewed the translators' 
work and made final revisions, asked the king to permit 
Ryves and Nicholas Love, schoolmaster of Winchester, 
to exchange some livings within Bilson's gift, "So that they 
may lay more together." This implies that both Ryves 
and Love, though not of the translators, had a clearly 
defined assignment. "The men/' Bilson said, "are both 
of good report, the one employed in the oversight of the 
translation, and the other takes no small pains in doing 
his duty." George Ryves, born in 1569, was a son of John 
Ryves of Damory Court, near Blandford, Dorset, and 
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Merwyn of Fonthill, 
Wiltshire. He had been Warden, or head, of New College 
since 1599. In his mid-thirties, he was hardly one of the 
"most ancient" divines, though ancient had a wide mean- 
ing. Perhaps his work on the Bible was partly going from 
one learned man to another, to keep them informed of 
the work of their associates and to prod them. 

Other writers have stressed that the work was slow in 
starting. On this point there is a letter of Lancelot 
Andrewes, dated the last of November, 1604, to a Mr. 
Hartwell: "But that this afternoon is our translation time, 
and most of our company are negligent, I would have 
seen you; but no translation shall hinder me, if once I 
may understand I shall commit no error in coming." Thus 
we see that the work at Westminster began promptly, 
though some of the Hebrew group there were unprepared 

or had stayed away when they should have met and dis- 

Understandable delay, as in many literary under- 
takings, must have occurred when other duties intervened 
because, as we have seen, translation was a part-time job 
without regular pay. Yet aside from providing them with 
fixed fees or salaries, the king was as good as his word in 
aiding the select divines. To Edward Lively, the royal 
"Hebrew reader at Cambridge/* who, having lost his 
wife, had eleven children left out of thirteen, he gave, 
September 10, 1604, the living at Purleigh, Essex, a few 
miles from Cambridge. A month later he urged that 
Thomas Ravis, Dean of Christ Church, be Bishop of 
Gloucester. In 1605 there was a decree of the chapter at 
York to keep a residentiary^ place for Andrew Bing. He 
was subdean of York for forty-six years. 

William Barlow, Dean of Chester, in 1605 also, rose a 
little to be Bishop of Rochester. As Rochester was the 
least, the poorest, of the dioceses, he chose for his seal, 
with forlorn, brave meekness, a Latin motto which meant 
"set down in the lowest room/' That year too the good 
Lancelot Andrewes, who had refused Queen Elizabeth's 
offer to make him a bishop, became Bishop of Chichester, 
southwest of London. Later Andrewes became the king's 
almoner, and received a grant to retain his place as prebend 
of St. Paul's and all his emoluments until October 2, 
1607, on account of the poverty of his Chichester bishopric. 
Thus did the king reward his preferred translator. 

On July 12, 1605, Bancroft made Jeffrey King vicar of 
Horsham, Sussex. The Earl of Exeter on August 19 
wrote to Salisbury (Cecil) asking that his chaplain, Dr. 
John Layfield, who had some years since returned from 
his voyage of romance to the West Indies, be made parson 
at Gravely. 

There were other cases in which, after appeals and 
wangling by the mighty and lesser folk, learned men rose 


a bit in the complex, sacred scales of the Church and re- 
ceived rewards for added duties, without direct grants 
from the king. Yet the extra appointment entailed ad- 
ditional duties which had nothing to do with the work of 
translation. On November i, 1606, Sir Henry Savile, the 
plump translator who was the unpopular Master of 
Merton College, wrote to Sir Thomas Lake a plaintive 
letter which showed how many other matters a translator 
might have to keep in mind. "I have sent the bearer my 
man," he wrote, "to understand whether you have moved 
His Majesty for some timber trees for his poor and ancient 
college of Merton, Oxford. The work will be great and 
cost 3000; 300 trees will not furnish us ... but I dare 
not present a petitioner for more than 100 which I hope 
will not be denied.'* 

Besides the interruption of outside labors, the learned 
men had also, almost from the beginning, the interruption 
of death. Dr. Richard Edes, Dean of Worcester, died 
November 19, 1604, perhaps before he could do any work 
on the Bible, though he may have left some notes of use 
to his colleagues. 

Then to the dismay of all concerned, Edward Lively, 
one of the chairmen to whom the divines and scholars 
were to send their advice, took sick with "an ague and a 
squinsey," died in four days, and was buried at St. Ed- 
ward's, Cambridge, May 7, 1605, only seven months after 
he had received the good living at Purleigh, Essex. It was 
said that "too earnest study and pains about the trans- 
lation hastened his death/' Though he left eleven orphans 
without means of support, they survived and did well, 
and there are descendants of Edward Lively in the United 
States today. There is a statement that his death delayed 
the others who had begun to amend the Scriptures, yet 
they took the loss in their stride and went forward. 

Early in the year 1606 died Ralph Hutchinson, the 
Westminster translator, aged about fifty-seven. He left 

[74 1 

a few notes about phrases In the New Testament. John 
Bois used these, which still exist in copy. They show how 
early the most painful re-examination of the Bible text 
began, and how the final product came from joint efforts. 

Others replaced those who died, but who replaced 
whom? The accounts are clouded and conflicting. One 
replacement was Dr. John Aglionby, born about 1566, 
fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, a chaplain to Queen 
Elizabeth, principal in 1601 of Edmund Hall, Oxford, 
and a chaplain to King James as soon as he came to the 
throne. Punning on his name, they compared him to an 
eagle "He was of an aquiline acumen." Then there was 
Leonard Hutton, who was born about 1557, received his 
early training at the Westminster school, was a student at 
St. John's College, Oxford, and was vicar of Floore, Nor- 
thamptonshire, in 1601. In 1592 for Queen Elizabeth's 
visit to Oxford he wrote a play in Latin about a war of 
grammar between two rival kings, verb and noun. His 
Latin verses are to be found today at Oxford. He became 
subdean of Christ Church, and after Robert Burton settled 
there, the two must have known each other well. In 1600 
Hutton engaged in a solemn disputation, worthy of Bur- 
ton, about whether in the rebirth concupiscence is a sin. 
He married Anne Harnden, and had a daughter, Alice. 

So far we have met forty-seven translators out of the 
king's original fifty-four, all that are named on the chief 
lists that have come down to us. To these should be added 
the name of William Thome, for whom there is ample 

In 1606 fourteen bishops, among them Bilson of Win- 
chester and Ravis of Gloucester, both translators, signed 
with many a flourish a formal plea: "At the request of 
Doctor Thorne, his majesty's chaplain, we whose names 
are hereunto subscribed have thought it equal and just to 
make known unto all, whom it appertaineth, that he hath 
for many years read the public Hebrew lecture with very 


good recommendation in the University of Oxford, that 
he is now likewise very necessarily employed in the trans- 
lation of that part of the Old Testament which is remitted 
to that university, that he doth govern in the church of 
Chichester where he is dean with judgment and discretion, 
and that in the one and the other place he hath ever been 
and now is of very good and honest reputation. In regard 
whereof our opinion and hope is that he will approve 
himself worthy of further promotion in the church/' 
Despite the lofty commendation, Thorne failed to be 
preferred much more, but he earned the name of trans- 

Additional names of which mention may be found be- 
sides those of Leonard Hutton, John Aglionby, and 
Thomas Bilson, already referred to, were Daniel Featley, 
born Fairclough, Arthur Lake, James Montague, who 
became Bishop of Bath and Wells, Thomas Sparke who 
had been at Hampton Court but is mentioned as a trans- 
lator only in a life of King James on which one can hardly 
depend, and William Eyre. Some authorities say that 
Daniel Featley was too young to share in the work; others 
that he had something to do with it, and he is on the 
British Museum list of translators. Perhaps many of these 
names are false leads. Proof, one way or the other, is most 
difficult. The surmise that many aided in the translation 
unofficially, seems justified. Many must have offered advice 
on verses, helped solve hard problems, and queried read- 
ings on which the chosen learned men agreed. Hugh 
Broughton, the rabid Puritan, was angry at being left 
out, but his friends among the translators may have 
consulted him and used some of his phrasings. 

The lives of the learned men were quiet, except for 
their many mundane duties. Years later John Selden 
wrote in his Table Talk, "The translation in King James' 
time took an excellent way. That part of the Bible was 
given to him who was most excellent in such a tongue 


(as the Apocrypha to Andrew Downes) and then they met 
together, and one read that translation, the rest holding 
in their hands some Bible, either of the learned tongues, 
or French, Italian, Spanish &c. If they found any fault, 
they spoke; if not, he read on." Andrew Downes dealt 
with many other books than those of the Apocrypha, for 
he was learned in the Greek of the New Testament too. 

What ancient-language texts did they work with? They 
had the Complutensian Polyglot of 1517, published at 
Complutus, now Alcara de Henares, Spain, and they had 
the Antwerp Polyglot, 1569-72. These gave Hebrew and 
Greek texts with versions in other tongues added. Of 
course they had the Latin Vulgate, though that was suspect 
because it was popish. With some fragments of early 
scrolls, they had countless comments by the early church 
fathers and ancient scholars. Often they referred to St. 
Chrysostom (347-407 A.D.), whose works Sir Henry Savile 
had begun to edit, with help from Andrew Downes and 
John Bois. Another reference authority was the Geneva 
scholar, Theodore Beza (1519-1605). 

Since the time of King James other Bible manuscripts 
and fragments have come to light, though none, save 
perhaps the Isaiah of the Dead Sea Scrolls, goes back to 
early Christian days, let alone to its original writer. The 
various manuscripts and fragments contain thousands of 
variant readings, throughout. What the King James men 
had, and what we have today in greater variety, consists 
of copies derived from former copies and so on back- 
ward. The text as it stands in any scholarly edition must, 
by the very nature of the problem, be in many respects 
corrupt. We can only trust that what we have is a rea- 
sonably accurate text of the sixty-six books, which through 
the ages the churches came to accept as the Holy Scrip- 
tures. It should be obvious, therefore, that no English 
rendition is, or can be from any literary standpoint, the 
precise word of God. 



King's ^Pleasure 

While the scholars were busy with the Bible, their royal 
patron was pursuing his usual interests. Twice a week at 
Whitehall there were cockfights, and in November of 
1604 the king was much at Royston. 

Royal visits were an expense hard to be borne by the 
countryside so honored. One day a favorite among the 
king's hounds, Howler, was missing. The next day in the 
field Howler came in among the rest of the hounds. The 
king, glad of his return, spied a paper about his neck: 
"Good Mr. Howler, we pray you speak to the King (for he 
hears you every day and so doth he not us) that it will 
please His Majesty to go back to London, for else the coun- 
try will be undone; all our provision is spent already, and 
we are not able to entertain him longer." Unperturbed by 
this plain speaking from the local farmers who had to sup- 
ply his retinue, King James stayed on for a fortnight. 

On December 4 the Earl of Worcester wrote from 
Royston, "In the morning we are on horseback by eight, 
and so continue in full career from the death of one hare 
to another until four at night . . . five miles from home." 

All this was while Bancroft was taking office as Arch- 
bishop, and Lancelot Andrewes was faithfully setting 
aside his days for "translation time." 

At the Christmas season, 1604, Sir Philip Herbert 
married Lady Susan Vere in the king's presence. The 


bride and groom lodged in the council chamber at White- 
hall, where the king in shirt and nightgown conducted 
a reveille matin before they were up, even lolling on the 
bed. In such coarse doings James behaved as if the Bible 
had no effect on him. Yet he continued to show interest 
in the new translation and in time gave preferment to 
the translators one by one. 

The day before Twelfth Night, James made young 
Prince Charles Duke of York. For Twelfth Night there 
was Ben Jonson's Masque of Blackness. The queen was 
six months pregnant, but again she and her ladies, this 
time with blackened faces and arms, appeared in the 
play with their hair down and wore rich gauzy draperies 
which shocked the guests. Courtiers in the masque were 
dressed as Moors, riding sea horses and other frightful 
fishes. At the banquet, guests so wildly assailed the king's 
provisions that tables and trestles went down before any 
could touch the food, and jewels and gold chains were lost 
in the scramble. The king joined in the gaming after- 

Such royal routs cost thousands of pounds. The learned 
men who revised the Scriptures were, meanwhile, getting 
nothing except their rooms and commons while they were 
away from home. Weekly they returned on horseback or 
afoot to their churches where they had to conduct many 
a service. At the New Year those of them who were bishops 
sent the king from ten to thirty pounds in gold. 

On February 8 there was a play, The Fair Maid of 
Bristol, at Whitehall. Two weeks later the king went to 
Newmarket, which was starting its long sporting career 
in horse racing. 

For the queen's lying-in there was much clamor about 
who should carry the white staff, hold the back of the 
chair, keep the door, rock the cradle, and such services, 
all more or less fixed by custom. The birth of the princess 
was on April 8. She lived only a little over two years. 


Continuing their royal revels, on June 3 the king and 
his party went again to the Lion's Tower. There they 
watched live cocks thrown to male and female lions and 
torn to pieces. But when the keeper lowered a live lamb 
into the cage, the lions merely sniffed at it and let it 
alone. Alas, the lions had no real chance to lie down 
with the lamb, for at this point the keepers lifted it out 

Presumably the work of translation continued peace- 
ably amid the court activities in sports, gaming, and 
amateur theatricals, but during the next year one royal 
pastime inevitably disturbed the translators. This was the 
visit of King James to Oxford, August 27, 1605. Corpus 
Christi College has preserved the charge to heads of houses 
over a month before this royal progress: 

1. All doctors and graduates, scholars, fellows and proba- 
tioners to provide before the first day of August next gowns, 
hood, and cape according to the statutes of their houses 
and orders of the university, and that all commoners and 
halliers do wear round caps, and colors and fashions in 
their apparel as the statutes do provide. 

2. That whosoever shall be seen by the vice chancellor or pro- 
tectors or other overseers appointed by the delegates in the 
street or any public place, during the King's Majesty's 
abode, otherwise apparelled than the statutes of their 
houses or the university appoint for their degree, shall 
presently forfeit ten pounds and suffer imprisonment at 
the discretion of the said officers, the said forfeit to be levied 
by the vice chancellor or whom he shall appoint. 

3. That upon the day when the King cometh, all graduates 
shall be ready at the ringing of St. Maries bell to come in 
their habits and hoods according to their degrees, and all 
scholars in their gowns and caps shall stand quietly in such 
order as shall be appointed, until his majesty be passed into 
Christ Church, and the train being passed, every one may 
report to his own college. 

4. That all scholars, bachelors, and masters do diligently fre- 


quent the ordinary lectures during the time of his majesty's 

5. That no scholar of what degree soever presume to come 
upon the state in St. Maries, upon pain of one month's im- 
prisonment and forty pounds fine, and that no master of 
arts presume to come within the compass of the rail or stage 
below, where the disputers sit, but with his hood turned 
according to his degree, and none but masters of arts and 
bachelors of law shall presume to come into that place. 

6. That the scholars which cannot be admitted to see the plays 
do not make any outcries or undecent noise about the hall, 
stairs, or within the quadrangle of Christ Church, upon 
pain of present imprisonment and any other punishment 
according to the direction of the vice chancellor and proc- 

7. That they warn their companies to provide verses to be dis- 
posed and set upon St. Maries, or to other places conven- 
ient, and that those verses be corrected by the deans or 
some others appointed by the head. 

8. That a short oration be provided at every house to enter- 
tain his majesty if his pleasure be to visit the same, and 
verses set up. 

9. That University College, All Souls, and Magdalen College 
do set up verses at his majesty's departure, upon such places 
so as they may be seen as he passeth by. 

10. That the fellows and scholars of the body of each house be 
called home and not permitted to go abroad till after his 
majesty be gone from the university, and that they may be 
at home by the first of August. 

The vice-chancellor in charge of all this was Dr. George 
Abbot, the translator for whom the future promised so 
much. As acting head of Oxford he was to collect the fines, 
see that there was a full turnout in fancy dress, and make 
sure that no wicked students most of them teen-aged, 
like college boys today spoiled the solemn display. He 
had a month to prepare, and many o the Oxford trans- 
lators who would otherwise have used the summer months 
for study of the Bible texts must have had to help him. 

For the king's visit Oxford paved streets and swept them 
well. It newly painted all rails, posts, bars o windows, 
casements, and pumps, and newly tricked all arms. On 
August 27 the king came riding horseback, with the 
queen on his left hand, Prince Henry before them. Be- 
cause they had come by easy stages, stopping nights at 
great houses, they were fresh enough to look regal. The 
vice-chancellor, George Abbot, translator, made his speech 
on his knee with good grace and a clear voice. 

The party went on to St, John's College. At Carfax 
Dr. John Perin, Greek reader and a translator, made his 
oration "in good familiar Greek." The king heard him 
willingly and the queen gladly, because she said she had 
never heard Greek. Dry as such a program may seem to 
us today, to the scholars, and even to the royal group, 
such speeches were alive and of intense concern, partly 
because they all looked with respect on heaven and hell. 
Who was good enough to regard the future with peace of 

The party progressed to Christ Church, and on the 
second day, August 28, from ten in the morning until one 
they watched a tiresome light play. But the sermons, 
lectures, disputes, and speeches of the translators and 
the rest went on and on in accord with the schedule. 
The Latin verses by the students, gone over by the deans, 
were all up in place. Here and there the gracious king, 
twiddling his fingers as was his wont, gave a few words of 
praise, often in Latin. Vice-chancellor Abbot sent Dr. 
Aglionby around with the king, whose alert vigor amazed 
all. There is no suggestion that he drank too much. This 
was a fair of learning on a high plane, with even the youth- 
ful scholars less noisy and rowdy than was their habit, 
and the doctors of divinity arrayed in scarlet gowns, faced 
down to the feet with velvet, in the hot August weather. 

That summer appeared the first catalogue of the new 
Oxford library to which the year before King James had, 

by patent, given the name of Its founder, Sir Thomas 
Bodley. It listed among the thousands o books in its 
655 P a ges, Biblia Latina pulcherrima, two volumes, a 
present from Dr. George Ryves, Warden of New College 
and an overseer of the translation, and other books that 
were gifts from the King James learned men. Today 
the Bodleian has hundreds of papers, as well as books, 
by and about the translators. 

Though his life belied it, King James seemed sincere 
enough in posing as a lover of books. When he received 
his degree at Oxford, he went into the Bodleian, where 
chains bound all the books to the shelves. Looking around 
with a longing mien, he said, "I would wish, if ever it be 
my lot to be carried captive, to be shut up in this prison, 
to be bound with these chains, and to spend my life with 
these fellow captives which stand here chained." James 
truly admired the Bodleian. 

Today it may be asked whether the learned men of 
Oxford admired the king. Now he was the guest of some 
who had been his guests at Hampton Court; Dr. John 
Rainolds was one, on a program of sermons and lectures 
in Latin and English. Although Rainolds' lecture 1 has 
not been preserved, it seems safe to assume that he was 
more polite to his king than James, at the conference, had 
been to him. 

In fact Rainolds the Puritan was finding it possible to 
conform to some of the most difficult of the church claims. 
In a letter dated June 3, 1605, two months before the king's 
visit, he maintained that the bishops and clergy since 
Henry VIII's split with the Roman Church had been 
rightly ordained, and even in some cases confirmed by 
the Pope. Many chief doctors of the Roman Church had 
taught, he said, "Out of St. Augustine, grounding on the 

X A "sermon*' was delivered within the church service; a "lecture" out- 
side it, even though in the church building. New England later kept up 
the custom of lecture day in the meeting house. 

Scripture that heretical bishops may lawfully ordain." 
Therefore in this letter, still among the Corpus Christi 
papers, Rainolds joined Bancroft and the king in arguing 
that the Church of England had wholly correct descent 
from St. Peter, and its clergy were in the direct, sacred 
line from the first Christian bishops. 

Rainolds made no mention at this time of the divine 
right of kings, but years before, in another letter, he had 
written about divinity. "Sith that divinity, the knowledge 
of God, is the water of life, the vessel must be cleansed 
that shall have God's holy spirit not only a guest but 
also a continual dweller within. God forbid that you should 
think divinity consists of words, as a wood doth of trees. 
Divinity without godliness doth but condemn consciences 
against the day of vengeance, and provide the wrath of 
the mighty Lord, and make more inexcusable before the 
seat of judgment. . . . True divinity cannot be learned 
unless we frame our hearts and minds wholly to it." He 
had then urged study of the word of God in the Hebrew 
and Greek, "not out of the books of translation/' and 
had approved strongly of painful travail in Calvin's works. 
Now, still for Calvin, he was also for the translation that 
was James's best claim to divine guidance. 

And indeed the Bible men were for the king, the master 
of their task. Though the King James version as it came 
from their hands and minds contained much against 
kings, preachers could and did conclude that it stood 
for divine right of the crown. Among the translators, 
Lancelot Andrewes, whom the king heard preach and 
greatly approved, said: "The duties of a king are first 
to acknowledge his power to be from God. . . . Another 
duty of the people is to bear with the infirmities of this 
mild king, and to be as meek toward him in covering his 
uncomeliness, if any be." Was James thus mild and meek? 
Or was Andrewes just holding up before him a standard? 

In another sermon the gentle Andrewes uttered what 


we may now see as a warning, though surely it was not 
so meant or understood. Of kings he said: "If religion 
make them not, heresy will not unmake them/ 7 Yes the 
struggles of James and the House of Commons over taxes 
and other matters going on around the learned men as 
they worked, could only confirm their religious con- 
victions and make them the more eager to finish their 
special task. Let other writers as for instance Pericles 
in Shakespeare raise political issues: 

Kings are earth's gods; in vice their law's their will, 
And if Jove stray, who dares say, Jove doth ill? 

A touchy king might well dislike such questions, and 
for the progress of the Bible work it was little enough to 
assure a royal patron of his virtue and safety. In the long 
run a bright, pure Bible could help all men to stand 
equal before the mercy seat of heaven. 

Another rebel in attendance during the royal visit was 
Dr. Thomas Holland, the translator who had conformed 
in outward things though he remained inwardly against 
the bishops. As a feature of the royal entertainment, Dr. 
Holland took part in an argument on the theological 
question, Do the saints and angels know the thoughts of 
the heart? Though an appropriate choice for men of many 
minds, all on their good behavior, the virtue of the 
question was that no one could answer it. It was there- 
fore a perfect subject for a heated debate, a drill in what 
passed for logic, in the manner of the schoolmen of the 
Middle Ages. According to custom, Dr. John Aglionby, a 
translator, upheld one side and three other translators 
Drs. Holland, Giles Thomson, and John Harding argued 
in opposition. The moderator was to be Thomas Bilson, 
Bishop of Winchester, another translator, if he could 
come; if not, then the vice-chancellor George Abbot, 
a translator too would take his place. 

Although some may have enjoyed their roles in the 

celebration, for Dr. Rainolds, prime mover in a more Im- 
portant project, the days of the royal visit must have been 
an ordeal. He had long been less than robust. Coughing 
more than he liked, he suffered from what he and the 
doctors thought was gout. Rainolds aroused himself to 
lecture before the king, being present at all the stodgy 
pomps, wearing the heavy emblems of his learning, and 
then went back to his Corpus Christi duties and his study, 
where he took extreme pains in poring over the Bible 
sources and choosing English phrases. Normally the trans- 
lators met in his quarters once a week to discuss the 
Bible work now put aside. 

When the king left, his party and the divines, plump 
and lean, with all sorts of other people crowded the high- 
ways. Men, women, and children rode in a jingling 
traffic of gay colors. Sedate translators returned to their 
livings. In the stream many were walking, and there were 
carts for luggage and varied goods. Traffic converged on 
Oxford too, turning out and waiting as advance riders 
warned that the royal progress was coming. On the face 
of England there had been few changes since the time 
of Chaucer's pilgrims. The real changes would come 
when readers of the new Bible learned to overturn what 
James thought and urged, and to read into his Bible what 
he most strongly opposed. 



Holy War 

After long delays, Parliament was to meet on November 
5, 1605. Great Britain still observes that date with bon- 
fires, and boys dressing up, putting on masks, going 
around begging for pennies, and shouting a ragged little 
rhyme. On that day all who approached Whitehall and 
the old palace of Westminster found the streets barred 
by soldiers. London seethed with alarm, awe, and rumors, 
ill-founded and well-founded. When it appeared that 
Parliament was to convene still later, the crowd at length 

The trouble had begun long before. From Brussels, 
March 17, 1604, a newsletter had said: "It is also reported 
that all Catholics are to leave England on pain of death. 
Should anyone of this religion be met with in the future, 
all his property and fortune are to go to his nearest friend. 
It is a subtle scheme for one friend to denounce the other, 
wherefrom it is to be gathered what is to be expected from 
this king." 

In secret, it is now supposed, Queen Anne had become 
a papist. She and the king were oddly unsure of each 
other, though without an open break. James meant in the 
main to preserve the Church of England as it was, so long 
as it helped preserve his kingship. Thus, angry at a report 
that he had become a convert of Rome, James was putting 
in force with doubled vigor the revived penal laws against 

the papists. Those who belonged to the Roman Church, 
many with famous old names, were enraged or in despair. 

A band of them, mainly kinsfolk, had begun to plot 
some six months before, about the time a cuckoo flew 
over the pulpit of Paul's Cross and cried out this at the 
time was seen as an omen of something dire to come. The 
story is too involved to give in detail here, but on October 
26, the Lord Chamberlain, Monteagle, received an un- 
signed letter begging him to stay away from Parliament 
on the day it opened. He took the letter to Robert Cecil, 
who on November i showed it to the king at a midnight 
meeting. The king shrewdly surmised a good deal of what 
it meant. 

Monday, November 4, an agent of the royal party 
found in a cellar beneath the House of Lords a man, named 
Guy Fawkes, disguised as a servant, beside piles of faggots, 
billets of wood, and masses of coal. The agent went away. 
Shortly Monteagle and one other came and talked, but 
gave no heed to Fawkes, who was still on guard, until 
they were about to go. He told them he was a servant of 
Thomas Percy, a well-known papist. Still later, at mid- 
night, soldiers found Fawkes booted and spurred and 
with a lantern outside the cellar door. He had taken few 
pains to conceal his actions. They dragged him into an 
alley, searched him, and found on him a tinderbox and 
a length of slow match. In a fury now they moved the 
faggots, billets, and coal, and came upon barrel after 
barrel of powder, thirty-six barrels in all. Fawkes then 
confessed that he meant to blow up the House of Lords 
and the king. 

On November 6, Percy, with others, rushed into an Inn 
at Dunchurch, Warwickshire, with the news that the 
court was aware of their plan. By the eighth the whole 
attempt had clearly failed. When Parliament met a week 
after the stated day, the king, calm, gracious, and splendid, 
told what had happened and then adjourned the meeting. 


At first Fawkes refused to name any except Percy, who, 
with others, was killed in the course of a chase. In time 
he gave the names of all, who would have blown up the 
House of Lords "at a clap." 

Guy Fawkes was baptized at St. Michael le Belfrey, 
York, April 16, 1570, son of Edward Fawkes, a proctor 
and advocate in the church courts of York. The father 
died and the mother married a papist. In 1603 Guy 
Fawkes went to Madrid to urge that Philip III invade 
England. Thus he was a confirmed traitor, though egged 
on and used by more astute plotters. 

Some of these men had been involved in the rising of 
the Earl of Essex. A number were former members of 
the Church of England. Most of them had some land and 
wealth. They were all highly disturbed beings, throw- 
backs, who meant to subvert the state and get rid of 
King James. Church and state, they were sure, must be 
at one, with fealty to the Pope. 

In Westminster Hall, January 27, 1606, there was a 
trial after a fashion with no real defense. Sir Edward 
Coke simply outlined the case and asked sonie questions. 
For nearly a year, the plotters had been digging a tun- 
nel from a distance, but had found the wall under the 
House of Lords nine feet thick. They had then got access 
to the cellar by renting a building. They had planned to 
kill the king, seize his children, stir up an open revolt 
with aid from Spaniards in Flanders, put Princess Elizabeth 
on the throne, and marry her to a papist. Though all but 
one, Sir Everard Digby, pleaded not guilty, the court, 
such as it was, condemned them all to death. That same 
week they were all hanged, four in St. Paul's churchyard, 
where John Overall, the translator, could have looked 
on, and four in the yard of the old palace. Among the 
latter was Guy Fawkes, tall, brown-haired, and with an 
auburn beard. He was so weak from torture that guards 
had to help him up to the scaffold. Percy and three others 

had been killed before while trying to escape, and one 
had died in prison. 

Three months later came the trial of Henry Garnet, 
a Jesuit, thought to be head of the Jesuits in England. 
Brought up a Protestant, he knew of the plot but had 
shrunk in horror from it, though he left the chosen victims 
to their fate. The court condemned him also to die. 

All this concerned the men at work on the Bible. At 
Garnet's hanging, May 3, in St. Paul's churchyard, John 
Overall, Dean of St. Paul's, took time off from his trans- 
lating to be present. Very gravely and Christianly he and 
the Dean of Winchester urged upon Garnet "a true and 
lively faith to God-ward," a free and plain statement to 
the world of his offense; and if any further treason lay in 
his knowledge, he was begged to unburden his conscience 
and show a sorrow and detestation of it. Garnet, firm in 
his beliefs, desired them not to trouble him. So after the 
men assigned to the gruesome duty had hanged, drawn, 
and quartered the victim, Dean Overall returned to St. 
Paul's and his Bible task. 

That year, 1606, Overall was also writing his convo- 
cation book of canons. This was intended to be a code 
for the faithful. A part of it upheld the divine right of 
kings. Yet, Overall argued, if any upset by force occurred 
and a new rule succeeded, this too in turn could plead 
for itself a divine right, and insist that the people obey it, 
thus to do their duty toward God. To touchy James this 
was false doctrine. So he suppressed the whole book of 
canons, which came out only after 1688, when James II 
was forced to leave the country. 

The Guy Fawkes plot inspired many sermons. Of the 
translators, Ravis preached at Paul's Cross, Barlow at West- 
minster, and Andrewes at Whitehall. From then on 
Andrewes preached ten Guy Fawkes sermons before the 
king, one a year, deriving awful lessons from the horrid 


William Barlow also preached at Paul's Cross on the 
Sunday after the plot came to light. His text was Psalm 
18:50: "Great deliverance giveth He to His king, and 
sheweth mercy to His anointed, to David, and to his seed 
for evermore/' Of Guy Fawkes Barlow said: "To make 
himself drunk with the blood of so many worthies . . . 
such heaps he had laid in of billets, faggots, large stones, 
iron crows, pickaxes, great hammer heads, besides so 
many barrels of gun powder . . . not manlike to kill but 
beastlike to ... tear parcel meal the bodies of such per- 
sonages . . . this whirling blast would have been unto 
our sacred king ... as the whirlwind and fiery chariot 
of Elias, to have carried up his soul to heaven/' 

The first Guy Fawkes sermon by Lancelot Andrewes was 
on Psalm 118:23, 24: "This is the Lord's doing; it is 
marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord 
hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." He implied 
that God let the plotters proceed so that He could destroy 
them in signal fashion, to give the public a good lesson: 
"We have therefore well done ... by law to provide 
that this day should not die, nor the memorial thereof 
perish, from ourselves or from our seed, but be con- 
secrated to a perpetual memory, by a yearly acknowledg- 
ment to be made of it throughout all generations. . . /' 

Other sermons following the Fawkes attempt were aimed 
directly at the papist party, now, naturally in even less 
favor. The Church of England had maintained, and 
maintains, that the Catholic Church is, as the term means, 
the church universal. That the Roman Church could be 
that church universal seemed absurd to such divines as 
the translator, the stodgy George Abbot. Yet he, like 
others to this day, confused oneness, the belief that there 
can be but one Christian Church, with places and numbers 
of people. Thus he wrote with righteous scorn to a papist, 
"What say you to the south continent, which is so huge 
a country that if the firm land do hold unto the pole, as 

it commonly is received and believed, it very near equaleth 
all Asia, Africa, and Europe, and what part in all that 
world is thoroughly discovered as yet by any Christian? 
... If we look unto the northern and colder parts of 
America, which are not so fit for the breeding of gold 
[how wrong he was about that!] . . . what huge countries 
be there of incomparable bigness which have nothing of 
Christianity in them?" 

In other words, unless the Church of Rome had spread 
to all parts of the world, how could it claim to be the one 
church for all? He disdained the papist's mention of 
Goa, "as if it were some huge region, whereas it is but a 
city." As he argued, he contradicted himself, for he also 
wrote, "You are misinformed that the protestants do 
glory in their great number; they know that truth is 
truth, be it in more or few." The papists, with subdued 
fury about the new Bible, and the Church of England 
kept on pushing for themselves, and against each other. 
The translators worked on in this stormy air. 

Nor was the controversy limited to the Catholic claims. 
In the summer of 1606 four divines preached before the 
king on how to reduce some Presbyterian Scots to a right 
feeling toward the Church of England. Among them were 
Andrewes and Barlow. 

Meanwhile a young man in Holland was stirring up 
questions which long after involved Dr. Andrewes and 
George Abbot. Born in Essex about 1575, Bartholomew 
Legate had no college training, but, after being a dealer 
in cloth lists, he preached among the "Seekers," an off- 
shoot of the Mennonites in Zeeland. He soon found that 
Mennonite tenet, that our Lord's body came from heaven, 
an "execrable heresy," By 1605 he was teaching that 
Jesus Christ was a mere man, but born free from sin. 
The Scriptures, he said, term him God, not from his 
essence but because of his office. This was more than any 
stable churchmen could endure. The case of this bold 


minor figure was to be as evil as that of Guy Fawkes. 
Tried by the London consistory, with George Abbot 
presiding and Lancelot Andrewes a member, Legate was 
condemned to death. 

After the Gunpowder Plot failed, the religious con- 
flict entered a less explosive stage, but one involving many 
differences of opinion. The Established Church in Eng- 
land, as in Rome, fought all divergences as heresy. In 
1607 Thomas Ravis, the Oxford translator, became Bishop 
of London succeeding the man who had replaced Richard 
Bancroft when the latter became Archbishop of Canter- 
bury. Ravis, always grim, at once began to harass those 
who would not submit fully to the Church. "By the help 
of Jesus/' he announced with haughty sureness that Jesus 
was with him, "I will not leave one preacher in my diocese 
who doth not subscribe and conform." While he worked 
on the Bible, he was highly active as a hated scourge. 
Writing "Of Unity in Religion/' Andrewes' friend Francis 
Bacon said, "Lukewarm persons think they may accom- 
modate points of religion by middle ways, and taking 
part of both." The bishops among the translators were 
far from lukewarm. They had no use for middle ways. 

On July 3 the king had declared: "We advise conformity 
especially of ministers, who have been the chief authors 
of divisions, and hope they will not omit substantial 
duties for shadows and semblance of zeal. If they are in- 
tractable, they must be compelled by the authority which 
we are compelled to use for preservation of the church's 
authority. Such as have been censured for disobedience 
may have till 30 November to bethink them of their 
course, and then either conform or dispose of themselves 
in other ways, as after that, proceeding will be taken 
against them." Though the king was competent to ex- 
press himself, we may assume that he used ghost writers, 
among them no doubt Bancroft, Robert Cecil, and Sir 
Thomas Lake. 


One main pinch was that all the clergy had to accept 
all those of the thirty-nine articles that dealt with rites 
and ceremonies. From a modern point of view those were 
the shadows, not the substance, of worship. But at the 
Hampton Court meeting, as we have seen, there had been 
controversy over making the sign of the cross, and there 
were many other matters in dispute. 

Increasing conflict made it certain that the men added 
to the list of translators would be stanch supporters of 
the established church. This was true of Leonard Hutton, 
chaplain to Bishop Bancroft. At Oxford in 1605 Hutton 
published An Answer to a Certain Treatise of the Cross 
in Baptism. This he addressed to Richard Bancroft, Arch- 
bishop since November. In it he opposed a statement that 
"the sign of the cross being a human ordinance is become 
an idol and may not lawfully be used in the service of 
God/' This he countered with a plea that "the consigna- 
tion of a child's forehead in baptism was one of the most 
ancient ceremonies of Christianity." Some made a differ- 
ence of the place for the sign, in baptism on the crown, 
in confirmation on the forehead. Many used the sign of 
the cross in all sorts of low ways, as on their breasts and 
foreheads in dice playing, to bring them luck. 

Hutton went on, "How much better were it to turn 
these forces that are spent upon ourselves against the 
common adversary who (as lamentable experience hath 
taught us) maketh this strife of ours a fit occasion and in- 
strument to overthrow our common faith." That urging 
of common sense and oneness meant, alas, that all the 
Puritans should accept his point of view. It never occurred 
to him that those who liked the cross in baptism might 
use it, and that those who disliked it might reject it. 

"These things and many other grievous sins and works 
of darkness, that blush not ... to show themselves in 
the open day, could not thus swarm amongst us as daily 


they do, If we all truly Intended the same thing, if we 
could faithfully and unfeignedly give one another the 
right hand of fellowship, and seriously do the Lord's work 
with one consent." Again this hearty standing for that one 
consent meant that all should consent to what Hutton be- 
lieved; stop all this silly fighting, and agree with what I 
tell you! He wrote further: 'That which I would now 
say is, to desire the treatiser and his friends that they 
would first reform themselves/' What could be more 
within reason? It may seem to us today that he was writing 
not really to persuade those on the other side of the wordy 
contest, but to please his master, Bancroft, head of the 
Church under the king. 

Loving peace on his own terms, Hutton had a tranquil 
life, while the Puritans waxed more potent around him. 
"If you fear a curse," he said grandly, "you fear where 
no cause of fear is/' A stained glass window at Christ 
Church bears the arms of this translator and two other 
Oxonians, Edes and Ravis. 

As the conflicts continued, the power of the bishops, an 
issue at Hampton Court, became stronger. "The occa- 
sion which caused the apostles to appoint bishops," An- 
drewes said, "seemeth to have been schisms." Again he 
said, "The whole ministry of the New Testament was at 
the first invested in Christ alone. He is termed . . . 
bishop, I Peter 2:25." 

Bishop Barlow preached on the antiquity and suprem- 
acy of bishops, using as his text Acts 20:28, "Take heed 
therefore with yourselves, and to all the flock over whom 
the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the 
church of God, which he hath purchased with his own 
blood." It was clear to Barlow that overseers meant 
bishops. Yet to this day scholars in commentaries argue 
whether the Greek word rendered in English as bishop 
meant what we mean by bishop at all. Given the times 


and the number of bishops among the learned men, the 
new Bible was certain to sustain the cult of bishops 
wherever the chance arose. 

Of the bishops one at least was to be highly useful. For 
Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, with Miles Smith, 
at the end revised all that the rest had done. He was one 
on whom the king and his trusted churchmen relied. We 
may well ask how his style fitted him to burnish the whole 
final draft, but i we use this criterion we may ask in vain. 
Bishop Bilson was for the most part a dull writer. So are 
many first-rate editors. 

He was born in Winchester in 1547, the son of German 
parents. His father, Herman, was a son of Arnold and per- 
haps a daughter of a duke of Bavaria. At New College, 
Oxford, Thomas Bilson became a doctor of divinity in 
1581, and was raised to Bishop of Winchester in 1597. In 
many ways he carried on the holy warfare of the Church; 
at New College in 1599, where the Puritans were getting 
stronger, he had to insist on the wearing of surplice and 
hood with the same firmness with which he forbade taking 
meat from the kitchen and bread from the buttery be- 
tween meals. Liking philosophy, physics, and divinity, the 
bishop was also fond of poetry. In that fondness we may 
find a clue to his skill with the Bible work toward the end. 
But mainly, being very well aware of the church conflicts 
that had always been rampant, Bilson was correct in 
dogma, a safe man to steady the king's new English Bible. 
One said of Bishop Bilson that he "carried prelature in 
his very aspect." 

On "the perpetual government of Christ's church," Bil- 
son said: "The second assured sign of episcopal power is 
imposition of hands to ordain presbyters and bishops, for 
as pastors were to have some to assist them in their charge, 
which were presbyters, so were they to have others to 
succeed them in their places which were bishops. And 
this right by imposing hands to ordain presbyters and 


bishops in the church of Christ was at first derived from 
the apostles unto bishops not unto presbyters." 

Thus he was ready to squelch the Presbyterian nonsense 
which the king hated. The word "presbyters" appears 
only once in the King James Bible, but the Greek word 
thus rendered is in many other places translated "elders." 
The Presbyterians have survived all the would-be squelch- 
ings by Bilson and others. The good bishop himself com- 
mented on differences of opinion as inevitable: 

"Who doth marvel that amongst so many thousands of 
bishops as the whole world yielded in so many hundred 
years there should be some contentious and ambitious 
spirits. . . . Were the pastors but of England, France, 
and Germany to meet in a free synod, I will not ask you 
when they would agree, but if their tongues be like their 
pens, there would be more need of officers to part the 
frays than of notaries to write the acts." 

The Bible on which the translators worked was born 
amid vivid and ruthless controversy. Yet outwardly at 
least the learned men made their peace with authority. On 
December 20, 1606, Dr. John Duport, the translator who 
was master of Jesus College, Cambridge, declared that all 
of that house conformed to the doctrine and discipline of 
the Church of England. By then all the Puritan translators 
had conformed enough to escape being banished or direly 
punished in other ways. That month Archbishop Ban- 
croft began to proceed against any Puritan clergy who 
were stubborn, and in a year, some historians say, got 
rid of three hundred, though others say fewer. 

In 1607 a number of these men found an alternative: 
they sailed to Virginia. In due course the Puritans won 
England for a time, and then lost, while they long 
triumphed in America. 



Private Fortunes 

On Eleventh and Twelfth Nights, 1606, just before the 
hanging of the gunpowder plotters, the Masque of Hymen 
by Ben Jonson cheered the wedding of Robert Devereux, 
Earl of Essex, and Lady Frances, daughter of the Earl of 
Suffolk. This Essex, son of the Essex who lost his head, 
was a boy of fourteen and his bride was a girl of thirteen. 
Years later two of the translators had to do something 
further about the marriage. 

Now Lancelot Andrewes, while he translated, was in 
the thick of events, both gay and grave. By disposition and 
training It was easy for him to turn his thoughts from the 
divine to the secular, from the scholarly to the worldly. 
At Westminster he saw to the repair of the dean's lodgings, 
and when he went to Chichester as bishop he repaired the 
palace. Often he was with the king at Newmarket for the 
horse racing and the bloodier sports. We may surmise 
that his sermons served to make the king less trying. 

As Bishop of Gloucester Thomas Ravis spent lavishly 
on social affairs, and It was said that he "in so short a time 
had gained the good liking of all sorts that some who could 
not brook the name of bishop were content to give (or 
rather to pay) him a good report/' He also constructed 
conduits to bring water into his bishop's palace, built 
much of it anew, and improved the paving. 

As the progress and advancement of the translators con- 
tinued Jeffrey King, of Andrewes' Westminster Hebrew 
group, a fellow of King's College, became royal professor 
of Hebrew at Cambridge. 


Bishop Barlow, the translator, had to officiate at a royal 
funeral. The Princess Sophia was born at Greenwich on 
June 22, 1606, and died the next day. A barge covered 
with black velvet conveyed her to the chapel royal at 

Then, in February, 1607, another translator died Wil- 
liam Dakins, professor of divinity at Gresham College, 

And now the worst sling of fortune so far struck the 
learned men engaged on the Bible. Dr. John Rainolds, ill 
as he thought with the gout, had long received his fellow 
workers while living on a pallet in his study. On April i, 
1606, he had been sick enough to make his will. Now at 
last on May 21, 1607, he died, not of gout but of phthisis. 
"His last sickness/' one said, "was contracted merely 
["merely" then meant "wholly"] by exceeding pains in 
study by which he brought his withered body to a very 
skeleton." His death came only a bit over three years after 
the Hampton Court meeting at which he had proposed 
the new Bible. 

His will may be seen at Corpus Christi College, to 
which he gave a hundred of his books. To the Bodleian 
he gave forty books, and to other colleges, Queen's, Mer- 
ton, New, University, Oriel, Exeter, Trinity, and Brase- 
nose, he gave many more. One of his treasures was his 
Regia Bible in eight volumes. There was a special be- 
quest of books to Sir Henry Savile, his austere fellow 
translator, the high churchman. 

To the one who would succeed him as head of Corpus 
Christi College he left his map of England, his linen and 
woolen bedding and lesser household things, and his note- 
books about the college. Though we may have thought of 
him as a man alone, he made bequests to his two brothers 
and to his sister. To two friends he gave his private note- 
books, papers, letters, and writings, to make away with 
those which could do no good, and to publish only those 
lectures which he had finished. 


There are early letters from his friend and comrade in 
the translation, Ralph Hutchinson, who had died the 
year before. They show again how absorbed these men 
had always been in their Bible studies. Thus Hutchinson 
wrote of commentaries mentioned by one man, "The com- 
mentaries ... I can assure you to be mere empty names. 
For except those which are in the Venice Bible, let any 
man in Christendom show me so many as he speaketh of 
upon the book of Esther, and I dare make myself his 
bondman. And even for those in the Bomberg edition of 
the Bible, I know not whether Ezra and Salome be joined 
there or no in any of those editions which are his/' One 
problem of the learned men was to reject fakes made by 
pseudo scholars. 

The list of Rainolds' possessions fills a long page. There 
were books valued at 774 pounds, 10 shillings, a large sum 
for those days. Maps of England, Europe, Asia, Africa, 
and America were worth 8 pounds, 8 shillings. His early 
map of America before Virginia or Plymouth was settled 
would be worth a good deal today. 

Among his other precious things were a silver bottle, 
a watch, a signet, a pair of bellows, some sugar and ginger 
(perhaps for use in his sickness), a penknife, wax papers, 
and clothes. He had gowns with hoods faced with velvet, 
twelve pairs of stockings, a rug and a blanket, twelve fine 
towels, two pairs of silk garters, a muff, some gloves, and 
other maybe stranger objects set down in writing too diffi- 
cult to read. There is no surplice on the list, though he 
had conformed enough to wear one. In sum they were the 
simple, useful goods of an eminent but quiet, devout 
scholar, who lived in much more comfort than Elder 
William Brewster and other American Pilgrim fathers 
some decades later. At the end of his will Rainolds gently 
quoted, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to 
the Grecians ["Gentiles" in the King James version], nor 
to the church of God." 

Corpus Christi College chose to succeed him as president 


John Spenser, a fellow translator of. the Andrewes group, 
the preacher who had warned of how the Church as it 
prospers may become lax and corrupt. In the college statues 
the figure of Rainolds stands with a closed book, the Old 
Testament which he helped translate, and the figure of 
Spenser stands with an open book, the New Testament, 
on which he worked, 

May 22, 1607, the day after Dr. John Rainolds died, 
a masque by Ben Jonson was performed before the king 
at Theobalds. Like other Jonson masques, it played up 
to James. The final couplet was, 

So gentle winds breed happy springs, 
And duty thrives by breath of kings. 

On that day James obtained from the Earl of Salisbury, 
in exchange for the manor of Hatfield, the mansion of 
Theobalds in Hertfordshire, where he had often had good 
times. Built by the earl's father, William Cecil, it had 
curious buildings, lovely walks, and pleasant conceits 
within and without. Nevertheless, it was said that the 
shrewd earl gained by the bargain with the canny, grasping 

With Parliament, which was growing more Puritan, 
James was ever in conflict, much of the time about money. 
The king was spending more and more on the costly 
trappings of the state as well as for his public and private 
pleasures. A court case had at length given him the long- 
withheld right to levy customs duties as he pleased, since, 
as it said, all affairs of commerce belonged to the king's 
power. While he delayed the levies, his debts grew. It was 
no wonder that he could pay his Bible translators only 
through the assignment of livings and minor incomes 
largely endowed. 

The early years of James's reign, like the time of Eliza- 
beth, saw many stirring ventures which would in due 
season help England to prosper. In 1607 a dozen rough, 
eager sea dogs, their captain among them, received the 


Lord's Supper at St. Ethelburgh's, Bishopsgate, London. 
The tiny shop of a glover was cooped up in its porch. 
Nearby were taverns, the Angel, the Four Swans, the 
Queen's Head, and narrow, crooked alleys, such as those 
named Wormwood and Peahen. The rector was the Bible 
translator and Arabic scholar, Dr. William Bedwell, who 
was then hard at work also on his great Arabic lexicon. 
The captain with his seamen, about to set out on their 
voyage in the Hopewell to sail as they thought across the 
North Pole, was Henry Hudson. 

In and around London on December 8, 1607, a hard 
frost set in and lasted for seven days, to impede movement. 
After a partial thaw, the frost got worse on the twenty- 
second. The Thames was so thickly covered with ice that 
it became the place for public fun. Coaches drove over 
the river as if it were dry land. Many set up booths and 
standings of sundry goods to sell upon the ice. On Feb- 
ruary i the ice at last began to break, the pressure break- 
ing up many quaint wooden bridges, while floodwaters 
destroyed much wild fowl, fish, and herbage in gardens, 
such as artichokes and rosemary. Only in April did the 
freezing cease. No doubt in London, then as now ill- 
equipped for winter temperatures near zero, the trans- 
lators at Westminster could hardly hold their books, 
papers, and pens, unless they hovered close to fireplaces. 

The next year there were two more masques by Ben 
Jonson, the queen's masque on January 14, 1608, and in 
February the masque at Lord Hadington's marriage. 
There is no complaint of flimsy clothes at these. But 
when Queen Anne's brother, the king of Denmark, came 
to England for a state visit, he found ladies of the court 
too drunk to dance. They needed but gave no heed to 
Biblical sermons about wine as a mocker and strong drink 
as raging. 

Teeming with commerce and population growth, Lon- 
don was undergoing a sort of building racket. "The itch 
of building continuing in defiance of the laws in being 


and the late proclamation, his majesty, looking upon the 
great increase of building in and about London as a 
rickety distemper in the head of the kingdom, which 
occasions a flux of humors and diseases to approach the 
court, and might in time bring the plague to Whitehall, 
did with the advice of his council again strictly prohibit 
the erecting buildings upon new foundations within two 
miles of the city, upon penalty of having them destroyed." 
Even the Westminster translators lived in fear of the 
plague, which many now supposed came partly from 
overcrowding and bad buildings. About how to dispose 
of sewage and other refuse people knew next to nothing. 

In 1608 there was some difficulty about making Dr. 
John Harding, the Oxford translation chairman, presi- 
dent of Magdalen College. Thus Dr. Arthur Lake wrote, 
February 24, 1608, to his elder brother, Sir Thomas Lake, 
the king's secretary, "I have been to the Bishop of Win- 
chester who will do his best to forward Dr. Harding, but 
there is a great conspiracy to exclude him." The two Lakes 
wrote to the vice-president and fellows of Magdalen Col- 
lege in Dr. Harding's behalf. At length Dr. Harding got 
the place, but lasted only a little over a year. Then Dr. 
Richard Kilby, another translator, replaced him. 

In December, 1608, William Eyre, Emmanuel College, 
Cambridge, who sounds as if he were a translator, wrote 
a letter to James Ussher in Dublin, Ireland. 1 Eyre men- 
tioned the pestilence in Cambridge, which must have 
alarmed the translators there, and the illness of Scaliger, 
the famous scholar and traveler, "with a dropsy and not 
like to escape death." Eyre asked that Ussher, because 
the new translation of the Bible was being hastened, re- 
turn to him the copy of the part which he had lent to 
Ussher for a Dr. Daniel's use. The letter shows that there 
was an order from the king through the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, Bancroft, that the translation of the Bible be 

1 Ussher was later to prepare a chronology of Biblical events found in the 
reference columns of many editions of the King James Bible. 

"finished and printed/' That end was still a long way off. 

During this same year there escaped from England to 
Amsterdam some of those who were to become the Ply- 
mouth Pilgrims, among them Elder William Brewster, 
perhaps William Bradford, and pastor John Robinson, 
who never reached America. Brewster and Robinson had 
been in college with some of the translators. Robinson 
must have known well John Overall and Laurence 

The learned men kept on rising in their church world. 
On April 18, 1608, Arthur Lake, younger brother of the 
king's secretary, became Dean of Worcester. A year later, 
May 27, 1609, George Abbot, the prosy, dogged translator, 
became Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. On December 
14 of that year died the stringent but sociable translator, 
Thomas Ravis, Bishop of London, who had been Dean 
of Christ Church. Before George Abbot could get used 
to Lichfield and Coventry, he became on February 12, 
1610, Bishop of London, third in line from Richard Ban- 
croft, who for six years had been Archbishop of Canter- 
bury. All because Abbot's mother caught and ate a young 
pike while she waited for his birth, his advance to glory 
was steady and sure. 

Meanwhile the king had many royal matters on his 
mind. He had to proclaim against "hunters, stealers, and 
killers of deer within any of the King's Majesty's forests, 
closes, or parks" at Hampton Court. Having built a new 
banquet house at Whitehall, he had celebrated with Jon- 
son's Masque of Queens. Twelve women in the habits of 
hags and witches spoke such lines as, 

The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad 

And so is the cat-a-mountain, 

The ant and the mole sit both in a hole. 

Old furies about witches had died down for a time; there 
had even been reprieves and pardons. In 1608 the Earl 
of Northampton as Warden of the Cinque Ports induced 


the Mayor of Rye to admit to bail a woman condemned to 
death for aiding a witch. Her hanging had been stayed; 
it was feared that she might succumb in the loathsome 
prison. That year also Simon Reade, a doctor and cunning 
man of Southwark, was pardoned after it was charged 
that he conjured and invoked unclean spirits. For the 
time being witches were more to amuse than to scare 

The magical East India Company, first chartered by 
Queen Elizabeth in 1600, now received from King James 
a charter without limit of time. These were years for and 
of brilliance. Captain John Smith was off in Virginia. 
Captain Henry Hudson was about to sail up the lordly 
river that glories in his name. James took his queen, Anne, 
and the children to the Tower to see a treat of the lion's 
single valor against a great fierce bear which had killed 
another bear. So the romance and triviality of royal life 
went on while the translators slowly approached the end 
of their labors. 

Now we revert to the translator John Overall, Dean of 
St. Paul's, who struggled with the profanations in Paul's 
Walk. When he was more than forty he had married a 
great beauty, Anne Orwell. They seem to have got on 
together for a time. Isaac Casaubon, who stayed with the 
Overalls in the dean's house, wrote letters mentioning 
Mrs. Overall in vague but kindly terms. At length of a 
sudden she ran away with a man named Sir John Selby. 
His name is all we know about him. Someone, or a number 
of men, chased the lovers along a road from London and 
brought the lady back to her husband. What the conflicts 
of the Overalls were or how the couple made out as they 
lived on in holy deadlock after the lady thus eloped and 
got caught we know not. Other wives of translators worried 
their husbands almost beyond bearing. Not all of the 
learned men profited by the advice of their fellow trans- 
lator Francis Dillingham, who, though he never married, 
set forth how to keep a wife in proper subjection. 


The Qood Word 

In a time of intense conflict within and without the 
churches, the work on the Bible did not escape. One who 
in anger opposed it was the great Puritan Hebraist, Hugh 
Broughton. Broughton himself had urged a revised ver- 
sion and had hoped to be among those chosen for the 
work, but was left out because he was so acrid in his 

Broughton's first conflict had been with Edward Lively, 
the Cambridge translator, over Lively's time scheme for 
the Bible. Now he was bitter against Archbishop Bancroft 
and Bishop Bilson about the latter's thesis, the common 
belief of many churches today, that the soul of Jesus went 
for a short time to hell. 

Bancroft, he said, "is a deadly enemy to both testaments 
and unallowable in this course to be a teacher or to rule 
in learning/* In a pamphlet he went on with the attack 
on Bancroft, who had no love for him. "Tell Ms majesty," 
he wrote among other things, "that I had rather be rent 
to pieces with wild horses than any such translation by 
my consent should be urged upon poor churches/' The 
statement against Bancroft, the chief prelate in what was 
still Broughton's church, was addressed to the House of 
Lords. Now, in the reaction against the Puritans, Brough- 
ton was in danger, while Bancroft firmly managed the 
new Bible. 


Among the papers o John Rainolds are some Brough- 
ton comments and advice set down with respect for his 
learning. Broughton made his own partial version of the 
Bible from which the King James men appear to have 
taken some wordings. Speaking of wild horses, Broughton 
said of the horse, in Job 39:19, "Canst thou clothe his 
neck with thunder?" The King James Bible asks, "Hast 
thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed his neck 
with thunder?" The English Revised Version has it, "Hast 
thou given the horse his might? Hast thou clothed his neck 
with the quivering mane?" No doubt this last conveys 
more of the Hebrew meaning. The King James men were 
working with, among other versions, the Bishops' Bible. 
That says oddly, "Hast thou given the horse his strength 
or learned him to neigh courageously?" This seems to 
be just a leaping guess at what appeared obscure. Yet all 
these wordings proclaim the power of God, and each has 
its rhythm and delight for us. Thunder is a figure for 
that which quivers; what a splendid phrase we lose if we 
object to "clothed his neck with thunder." We can thank 
rabid Hugh Broughton for his inspired word. 

And as the work went on even Hugh Broughton was 
softening somewhat his thoughts about the new version. 
In 1609 he wrote, "None should bear sway in translating 
but the able." But he added, "The king's care to have 
the law and gospel learnedly translated hath stirred much 
study and expectation of good, and all true hearted sub- 
jects will be ready for forebearance." 

It was, as we all know, a time of lambent English writ- 
ing in other fields. Whitehall may have had Shakespeare's 
Othello on November i, 1604. King Lear seems to date 
from 1605. Even Michael Drayton was writing his A gin- 
court "Fair stood the wind for France" and his ringing 
sonnet, "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part." 
Samuel Daniel, along with his masques and other poems, 
wrote the lovely, expert sonnet, "Look, Delia, how we 

stem the half-blown rose/' Raleigh, in the Tower, and 
Bacon were, as writers, in their prime. The blooming of 
even the minor Elizabethans appeared at its best while 
the translators labored, and may have given their hearts 
and minds some of its lushness. Yet the Bible and those 
flaming Elizabethans existed in realms apart. 

Shakespeare seldom quoted or mentioned the Scrip- 
tures. There are, of course, words, phrases, and images 
common to both his plays and the Bible. In the earlier 
plays the promise of Deuteronomy 32:2, "My doctrine 
shall drop as the rain/' has a parallel in Portia's descrip- 
tion of mercy that "droppeth as the gentle rain from 
heaven." The rhetorical question, "What is man, that 
thou art mindful of him? 5 * found in Psalm 8:4, and quoted 
in Hebrews 2:6, was echoed again in Hamlet's "What a 
piece of work is a man!" But these are similes and ideas 
inevitably occurring in works of such magnitude as the 
combined Old and New Testaments and the collected 
plays of Shakespeare. 

If we compare the work done at the same time we find 
that while Bois, Downes, and the rest were shaping up the 
new Bible, Shakespeare was writing, had just written, or 
was about to write The Winter's Tale, Gymbeline, and 
The Tempest. There are no completed thoughts in these 
three plays that appear in the Bible too. Almost never in 
them does Shakespeare so much as arrange two words in 
any exact likeness to a Bible phrase. In The Winter's Tale 
there is a Biblical allusion in the line "my name be yoked 
with his that did betray the Best." In the same play one 
clause reads "lift up your countenance," inviting compari- 
son with the Bible's "lift up his countenance/' This is 
probably just a chance likeness. The Winter's Tale also 
contains a topical reference to a Puritan who sings psalms 
to hornpipes, but this shows mainly that Shakespeare did 
not take the Puritans seriously. 

Indeed much writing of the age seemed opposed to the 

Bible. Though George Chapman, for Instance, often 
quoted the Scriptures, he also wrote in Bussy D'Ambois, 

Nature lays 

A deal of stuff together, use by use, 
Or by the mere necessity of matter, 
Ends such a work, fills it, or leaves it empty 
Of strength or virtue, error or clear truth, 
Not knowing what she does. 

The Bible and the preachers had to do their utmost against 
such blasphemous talk, implying that nature, or matter, 
could evolve itself without divine purpose. Because of 
such speculations the translators had distrust for the writ- 
ing of plays, lyrics, and profane pieces of most kinds, even 
though the king enjoyed them. 

The age had countless contests between the lovely and 
the ugly, and the king's poor grandeur could further the 
worst and the best. Ben Jonson, who made so many 
masques for the king, could be vulgar in the extreme. He 
could also write, "Drink to me only with thine eyes/' 
Thomas Campion, who wrote rather tawdry masques, 
wrote also "The man of life upright/' Did Shakespeare 
have clean hands and a pure heart? His plays, especially 
in the bloodier and bawdier passages, cast doubt on that. 
Inner conflicts, or those in contemporary society, may 
be good for artists in words. 

Yet the learned men, though together they made a 
masterpiece, were not primarily artists or men of letters, 
and the question remains how fifty to sixty men of as 
many minds achieved, in one great joint undertaking, the 
verbal felicities of the King James version. The king and 
his bishops who assigned the task apparently acted on 
the assumption that the work would be handled like any 
other churchly task, proceeding under authority from the 
lowest to the highest, at each stage to be approved by the 
next-ranking superior until it should reach the Crown. 

Such a plan allowed little leeway for Individual artistry 
in expression or even for inspiration. 

When they went to work, the translators themselves 
outlined a more democratic procedure by which, after 
each had translated assigned passages, the proposed new 
version should be read aloud and listened to by the whole 
group, each hearer holding a different version of the 
passage for comparison. How well this plan of work was 
adhered to, after the start, it is difficult to say. 

Yet we can discover a good deal about the way the 
learned men actually worked, and how carefully they 
would have said painfully they tried each word before 
setting it down. This knowledge we owe to notes made 
by John Bois of Cambridge. 

Beginning probably some time in 1609, and continuing 
daily for three-fourths of a year, John Bois, Andrew 
Downes, and four other's went daily to Stationers* Hall in 
London to revise the first draft of the Bible as it came 
from the groups in the universities and at Westminster. 

Stationers' Hall was a plain structure of brick, with 
square casement windows and ovals above them. An iron 
railing enclosed the court before the building. A flight of 
stone steps in a circle led up to the grand entrance. In- 
side were good halls and rooms large and small. The place 
had a feeling of placid worth. There for hundreds of years 
nearly all who would bring out books had to "enter" 
them, and thus obtain certain rights the beginning of 
today's copyright laws to prevent pirating. Oddly, in the 
published lists of Stationers' Hall there is found no entry 
for the 1611 Bible, to which Robert Barker, the King's 
Printer, alone had any title. 

Among the six men who went over the first drafts of 
the Bible manuscript at Stationers' Hall, besides Bois and 
Downes, were probably Arthur Lake and John Harmer. 
Arthur Lake, brother to the king's secretary, was born 
at St. Michael's, Southampton, in September, 1559, a son 

of Almeric Lake. He went to Winchester College, and was 
a fellow at New College, Oxford, where he became a 
doctor of divinity, May 16, 1605. In July, 1607, he was 
an archdeacon in Surrey, and in 1608 Dean of Worcester. 
An early written list, partly of queries, at Lambeth Palace 
mentions him among the translators. The Bois notes on 
their work refer here and there to AL, which of trans- 
lators' initials could be only Arthur Lake. Conceivably 
the two letters stood, instead, for alius or alii, "one other" 
or "the others/' However, in the notes for Philippians 
4:1 we find alii spelled out, all in small letters. So Arthur 
Lake may have been one of the six men at Stationers' Hall. 

John Harmer, whom Bois names, was born In Newbury, 
Berkshire, about 1555. The Ear l of Leicester was his 
patron, and in 1569 got him into St. Mary's College, Win- 
chester. In 1572 he transferred to New College, Oxford, 
where he had a scholarship, being of lowly parents. There 
he became a master of arts ten years later. Then, aided 
by Leicester, he went abroad and held disputations with 
great doctors of the Romish party. In 1585 Leicester had 
him made regius professor of Greek at Oxford. From 1588 
to 1596 he was headmaster at Winchester. The next year 
he settled down for life as warden of St. Mary's. Mean- 
while he was also rector at Droxford, Hampshire. Well 
read in patristic and scholastic theology, he was a most 
noted Latinist and Grecian. He rendered into English 
Calvin's sermon on the Ten Commandments. Clearly he 
was qualified to sit among the learned Bible men. 

John Bois, or Boys, had been a student under Andrew 
Downes. On the new Bible both worked first in Cambridge 
on the Apocrypha, as we have seen, with John Duport, 
William Branthwaite, Jeremy Radcliffe, and the two 
Wards. When all the translators had prepared their ver- 
sions, alone and in groups, Bois and Downes with the four 
others began their nine months' work on the whole in 
the daily meetings at Stationers' Hall. 

An early account of the work at this stage is found in 
a life of Bois written by his friend and admirer, Anthony 
Walker. 1 "When it pleased God/' Walker wrote, "to move 
King James to that excellent work, the translating of the 
Bible, when the translators were to be chosen for Cam- 
bridge, he (Bois) was sent for thither by those therein 
employed, and chosen one. Some university men thereat 
repining (it may be not more able, yet more ambitious to 
have a share in the service) and disdaining that it should 
be thought that they needed any help from the country, 
forgetting that Tully was the same at Tusculum that he 
was at Rome/' Thus even at Cambridge some were jealous 
of Bois, who had his living outside the university. 

"Sure I am/' Walker went on, "that part of the Apoc- 
rypha was allotted to him (for he hath showed me the 
very copy that he translated by) but I know not what part 
thereof. All the time he was about his own part his diet 
was given to him at St. John's [College] where he abode 
all the week till Saturday night and then went home to 
discharge his cure, returning thence on Monday morning." 

A little instance of further conflict follows. "When he 
had finished his own, at the earnest request of him to 
whom it was assigned, he undertook a second part, and 
then was in commons at another college. But I will forbear 
to name both the person and the house. Four years 2 he 
spent in this service, at the end whereof (the whole work 
being finished and three copies of the whole Bible being 
sent to London, one from Cambridge, a second from Ox- 
ford, and a third from Westminster) a new choice was to 
be made of six in all, two of each company, to review the 
whole work, and extract one out of all three, to be com- 
mitted to the press. For the dispatch of this business, 

1 Included in Francis Peck's Desiderata Curiosa. London, 1779. 

3 The "four years" seem to have been from late 1604 or early 1605 to late 
1608 or early 1609, and the three-fourths of a year to have been in 1609, or 
perhaps a little into 1610. 


Master Downes and he, out of the Cambridge company, 
were sent for up to London, where meeting their four fel- 
low laborers, they went daily to Stationers Hall, and in 
three quarters of a year fulfilled their task. . . . Whilst 
they were conversant in this last business, he (Bois) and 
he only took notes of their proceedings, which he dili- 
gently kept to his dying day." 

Walker added that the six received daily "thirteen 
shillings each of them by the week from the company of 
stationers, though before they had nothing/' The tall, 
rugged Downes was stubbornly bent on getting more, and 
sometimes avowed that he would go to Stationers' Hall 
only if he was fetched or threatened with a pursuivant 
bearing a warrant for arrest. He doubtless believed that 
his travel on account of the Bible should be at public ex- 
pense. We may conclude that Church and state told 
Downes and any others with mercenary thoughts to get 
on with what they had to do. 

However, there are papers to show that Downes had 
long been aggrieved and "humbly resolved" to get his 
due, with some small success. In 1608 Downes had sent 
to the king a humble plea about the maintenance of the 
Lady Margaret's divinity lecture which he gave at Cam- 
bridge. He said that he had been the king's professor of 
Greek now for almost two and twenty years, "employed 
beside in the translation and put to the greatest and 
hardest part of all," referring to the revision he was about 
to undertake, and had "not yet received any consideration 
for it, as others gave my inferiors far more in time and 
pains." He had looked and hoped all this while to be 
remembered with the others, but seeing young men pre- 
ferred before him, "and myself still left behind," he was 
"driven at the last" to speak for himself. "I have been 
the king's professor so long," continually conversant with 
all ancient authors, and with Latin and Greek he did 
not mention the Hebrew learned at five "it will not 

seem I trust unreasonable for me the king's reader to have 
some allowance out o that ample portion assigned to the 
Lady Margaret's reader till I can be better provided for." 
He was thus direct in asking for a good part of the sum 
given for the Lady Margaret's reader, 160 pounds. At 
last, on May 17, 1609, a royal grant "in regard of his pains" 
bestowed on him fifty pounds as a "free gift and reward." 

This seems to have been the only cash that any trans- 
lator received from the king. The wages paid at Stationers' 
Hall, nine pounds a week for the six men, for nine months, 
came to 360. It is certain only that this money did not 
come from the Crown. Did the Worshipful Company of 
Stationers advance the amount for a worthy project, out 
of the goodness of their hearts? (Not long before, they 
had subscribed 125 toward founding the colony of Vir- 
ginia, and five years later would give 45 more.) It seems 
more likely that Robert Barker, already licensed to pub- 
lish, advanced the money through the company, of which 
at about this time he was Master. The amount was only 
a little more than a tenth of what he would spend, all 
told, on the new Bible. And at any rate the Stationers 
provided working space. 

If we try to determine the identity of the half dozen, 
besides Bois and Downes, Johnv,Harmer and possibly 
Arthur Lake, the notes mention Hutchinson, presumably 
of the original group working on the New Testament at 
Westminster. But a reference does not prove that the 
translator named was working at Stationers' Hall; the men 
there could have been discussing work done earlier. Bois's 
biographer says only that at Stationers' Hall they started 
afresh, not with those who had previously been overseers 
or supervisors of the groups. 

Harmer had translated into English certain sermons 
by the French scholar Beza, who followed Calvin at 
Geneva and published a New Testament in Latin. Beza's 
influence on the work of the translators has been noted by 

scholars, and besides Harmer's direct contributions to 
the Bois jottings, the several references to Beza may have 
been made at his instigation. AL also is quoted, but the 
most frequent contributor of recommended readings is 
Downes. Downes and Bois were old working partners, hav- 
ing been master and student in the early days of Greek 
scholarship at Oxford, and together assisting Sir Henry 
Savile in his mammoth translation of St. Chrysostom. 

Thus as the six men worked their daily stint, presum- 
ably around a table piled with papers and books of refer- 
ence, the readings recommended by the scholars at Ox- 
ford and Cambridge and Westminster, and the Bibles 
already translated into English and Latin as well as the 
original Hebrew and the variant texts in Greek, we can 
see Bois keeping his faithful notes scribbling away at 
the pages still preserved for us in the Oxford copy. We 
can hear Downes "our most subtle thinker in words/' 
Bois called him compare one Greek reading with an- 
other, discuss the position of modifiers, or decide which 
preposition should be supplied to fit the needs of English 
grammar. Did he, as was his habit when lecturing at his 
own college, lounge with his long legs on the table? Or 
did he, in deference to the company and their solemn 
task, sit more decorously; and then, baffled by a puzzling 
construction in St. Paul, stand and walk about, perhaps 
stare at his own reflection in a window made a mirror by 
the black London fog, and think how we "see in a glass 

Bois's notes run from Romans through the Apocalypse, 
and for the debatable passages present a number of alter- 
nate readings. At Stationers' Hall the work was still in 
the stage of searching for the right word or combination 
of words to express an idea, and even of deciding which 
idea to adopt, among the possibilities suggested by the 
different translations or inherent in the different gram- 
matical structure of the ancient texts. So Bois put down 

word meanings as a dictionary would, or alternates as a 
thesaurus would; later still would come a choice among 
possible constructions for sound and rhythm and euphony 
of the whole. The Bois notes show how careful the trans- 
lators were, first of all, to determine exact meanings or 
establish a permissible range of meaning. 

Final constructions thus appear, almost always, to 
simplify the Bois suggestions. Thus in Romans 3:9 the 
notes suggest: "What then? Are we safe and out of dan- 
ger? Are we preferred? Are we God's darlings?" The King 
James question is "What then? Are we better than they?" 

In I Corinthians 9:18 Bois offered: "that I strain not 
to the utmost my power in the gospel, or that I rack not, 
or stretch not, etc." The King James reading is, "that I 
abuse not my power in the gospel." 

Andrew Downes in I Corinthians 10:20 proposed: "and 
I would not have you partakers with the devil." The 16 11 
Bible said, "and I would not that ye should have fellow- 
ship with devils." Here as elsewhere Downes' comments 
are in Latin, and long, as he filtered the sense from the 
Greek through the Latin, the language of scholars. The 
plural "devils," by the way, seems better than "devil" in 
the passage, for it appears to mean little demons rather 
than the great fiend or Satan. The Revised Standard Ver- 
sion uses "demons." 

Chapter 15, verse 33 of I Corinthians we all know well. 
Downes wanted "good manners," "good natures," or "good 
dispositions." The learned men at last settled on the first 
of these: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt 
good manners." 

For II Corinthians 2:10 Bois proposed "in the person, 
in the sight or in the name of Christ." The 1611 Bible 
uses a Bois word in its reading, "in the person of Christ." 
For 5:3, the Bois suggestion was "if so be that we shall be 
found clothed, and not naked." The king's Bible changes 
the order: "if so be that being clothed we shall not be 

found naked/' For 5:19 Bois put down "that God in Christ 
reconciled the world." The 1611 Bible reads "that God 
was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself/' Here 
the changes are small and mainly of grammar and rhythm, 
but again we see the fusing of the 1611 Bible going on as 
we read. 

In the final editing the last learned men, Smith and 
Bilson, used the Bois words "perfecting holiness" in II 
Corinthians 7:1. In the next verse they refused the Bois 
phrasing, "we have made a gain of no man," in favor of 
"we have wronged no man/' For 8:4 they took the whole 
Downes reading, "that we would receive the gift, and 
take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the 

A near miss by Bois is in II Corinthians 9:5 where he 
recommended, "as a bounty and not as a thing extorted." 
The 1611 Bible reads "as a matter of bounty, and not 
as of covetousness." The Revised Standard Version chose 
"not as an exaction but as a willing gift," which is better, 
and nearer Bois, than the 1611 wording. 

Trying phrases for Galatians 4:15, Bois wrote: "What 
is become then of the happiness that was ascribed unto 
you, of your magnifying of yourselves, of thinking your- 
selves happy for my sake, your happiness that is talked 
of or spoken of?" Many a writer thus tried many phras- 
ings. The reading finally adopted was "Where is then the 
blessedness ye spake of?" 

In Philippians Bois tendered for 1:19, "the bounty of 
the Spirit." The final version reads "the supply of the 
Spirit." For 1:21 he set down "life unto me is Christ, and 
death an advantage." The king's Bible chose one-syllable 
words: "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." For 
Philippians 2:20 Bois and AL suggested, "no man like 
minded . . . who will truly be careful of your matters, 
or careful from the heart." Andrew Downes, struggling 
hard with Paul's Greek, made literal notes: "so dear unto 


me, whom I love of my own soul/' The 1611 Bible says 
with greater ease, "I have no man like-minded who will 
naturally care for your state/' 

For the well-known Philippians 3:14, Bois offered: "I 
follow directly to the price (prize) of the high calling . . ." 
and AL proposed, "I follow toward the mark for the price 
(prize), . . ." We all know that the King James verse 
reads, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

Bois suggested for Philippians 3:20, "your city in 
heaven" or "heaven for our city.'* This illustrates the 
difficulty with connectives, lacking in the Greek text and 
sometimes requiring a decision as to the meaning of a 
phrase, a clause, or a sentence. Here the final King James 
version is the phrase much used, "our conversation is in 
heaven." To Elizabethans "conversation" meant much 
more than talk; it was the action of living or having one's 
being in and among. The Revised Standard Version has it 
"our commonwealth is in heaven," which accedes some- 
what to the Bois concept of "city." 

In I Thessalonians 5:23, Downes proposed "that your 
spirit may be kept perfect." The king's Bible has, "your 
whole spirit ... be preserved blameless." The Revised 
Standard Version says, "... be kept sound and blame- 

"May be schooled not to blaspheme" was what Bois 
offered for I Timothy 1:20. The king's Bible says, "that 
they learn not to blaspheme"; this stresses learning where 
Bois stressed teaching. Another rare passage in which the 
meaning was changed in revision is II Timothy 2:5, for 
which Downes recommended, "and though a man labor 
for the best gain, try masteries . . . unless he strive and 
labor lustily." The King James Bible says, "And if a man 
also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he 
strive lawfully." The Revised Standard has, "An athlete 
is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules." 

The word "strive" or "contend" is, in the Greek, the 
word from which we get "athlete," one who strives in 
the public lists. The passage is a demand that one follow 
the rules of the game, but Downes missed the point that 
the verse refers to a contest of athletes. 

We may assume that the scriptural passages for which 
Bois made no notes passed on to Smith and Bilson from 
the first draft without much change. Yet we must not 
suppose that the Bois notes preserved to us are more than 
hints of all that he, Downes, and the other four worked 
over; the forty pages of these notes are but a teasing frag- 
ment. At the end, someone has written: "These notes were 
taken by John Bois, one of the translators of the king's 
Bible/' and added that they were "transcribed out of a 
copy by some unskilled hand, very confused and faulty, 
especially in the Greek." But the notes are not faulty in 
Greek, only terse and stenographic. Perhaps the annotator 
did not like Bois's ligatured Greek writing, which shortly 
went out of style. 

But are there any other such notes about the making of 
a true world masterpiece? Why should these have sur- 
vived when we have nothing comparable from Shake- 

Commentators have pored over the only other material 
evidence, available in another form that copy of the 
Bishops' Bible which is cherished in the Bodleian Library, 
with marginal notes for suggested changes inked in. Yet 
the changes are not always those of the King James ver- 
sion, and may have been those of an amateur working 
independently with the zeal so widely felt. If they were 
made by one of the Oxford translators it would be interest- 
ing to see whether the phrases which differ from the final 
version are among those discussed by Bois. 

There are various interpretations of the nature of the 
work done at Stationers' Hall and its importance to the 
whole undertaking, especially with reference to the final 

editing done by Miles Smith and Bishop Bilson. Read 
carefully, the Bois notes show at least two things: first, 
that at this stage the work was still subject to changes, and 
second, that to the very end the learned men tried and 
tried again, so that we can share the very creakings of their 
thoughts. 3 Thus the notes which Bois "diligently kept 
to his dying day" seem to warrant attention, although 
apparently they have never been published. 

Nor did the work of the Stationers' Hall men end with 
the printing of the 1611 Bible. Minor revisions were made 
after the first edition, having to do chiefly with uniform 
usage of a different type face to distinguish the connective 
words added to make better sense in English. John Bois 
himself was concerned with such small revisions as late 
as the Cambridge Revised Edition of 1638. 

All these efforts with word meanings are of course labo- 
rious and, in the case of Scripture, highly important. 
Bois's biographer said, "Surely it will be easily granted 
that a man of a pregnant fancy and ready invention may 
sooner, and with more ease, write a leaf of his own than 
he can examine a line, it may be a word, of a decayed, 
crabbed author, or a dark manuscript which perchance 
cannot be done without perusing twenty more." Bois it 
was whose father taught him Hebrew at a tender age; his 
mother, a bluestocking of her period, had read the Bible 
through twelve times, presumably in the Geneva version. 
This sort of patience and piety the men at Stationers' 
Hall had and needed. 

Yet their notes are evidence only of the essential spade- 
work, the digging away at roots to lay a firm foundation. 
We still have no sure answer for that final choice and 

8 Dr. Frederick C. Grant of Union Theological Seminary, New York, upon 
seeing the notes, observed a parallel with his own experience in work on 
the Revised Standard Version: "The King James translators faced many 
problems that we did or rather, we faced those which they faced, long 
ago. One can almost hear the committee at work." 


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The Final Touches 

A story goes that someone put all those commas and 
colons into the King James Bible, and made the verse 
and chapter divisions, while riding horseback. If there 
is any truth in it, the guilty man may have been Dr. Miles 
Smith, who used to keep at work even on journeys, jogging 
along on a jennet. Many a stop breaks up a long, loping 
verse at random. 

One comma in Isaiah 9:6 has enjoyed especial fame: 
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and 
the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name 
shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, 
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." As we 
read that, we can hear the music of Handel's Messiah. 
It is splendid verse in groups of balanced words. But 
the comma does not belong between "Wonderful" and 

And his name shall be called 
Wonderful Counselor, 
The Mighty God, 
The Everlasting Father, 
The Prince of Peace. 

Alas, if we leave out the comma, we lose that wondrous 
pause in The Messiah between the two words! 

Music meant less in the England of James than in the 


England of Elizabeth, and Handel had yet to come. But 
music was in the air around, and the rhythms of the King 
James version are such that, whether or not the verses are 
set to music, most people seem to recognize that they are 
poetry. Somewhere, somehow, in the process of transla- 
tion the prosaic, labored definitions of the original trans- 
lators and later of Downes and Bois were arranged in 
rhythms that were to last. 

As an example of how this was done, consider that one 
verse in the brilliant I Corinthians 13 received from Bois 
five painstaking readings. For verse 11 he proposed "I 
understood, I cared as a child, I had a child's mind, I 
imagined as a child, I was affected as a child/' The King 
James Bible says, in words that have become fixed for 
us with a gravely swinging rhythm, "I spake as a child, 
I understood as a child, I thought as a child." Would the 
"imagined as a child" offered by Downes suffice instead 
of "understood as a child'? The rhythm is much the same. 

Many have discussed the use, in I Corinthians 13, of 
the word "charity" for the Greek agape. We have no light 
on how the learned men came to prefer this word to the 
word 'love" which appears in some older versions. The 
Bishops' Bible, before that of Geneva, used "charity." 
Taste has shifted back and forth between the words in 
that fine chapter of Paul, and will doubtless shift again 
as the overtones of definition change. But if we can, as 
we read I Corinthians, divest the word "charity" of rather 
smug later meanings, we can sense a fitness in its rhythm. 

Rhythm in the days of King James was important not 
merely as a source of pleasure to the ear, but as an aid 
to the mind. Generations to come would learn to read by 
puzzling out verses in the Bible that for many families 
would be a whole library. But at the time of translation, 
a Bible "appointed to be read in churches" was made to 
be listened to and remembered. Its rhythms were impor- 
tant as a prompting for memory. For that reason, in the 

words of their own Bible, it is evident that the learned 
men learned to use their ears as they worked "the ear 
trieth words as the mouth tasteth meat." 

There were other tests which the Bible editors used. 
They remembered that their purpose was to make an 
English translation, and though many of them could think 
in the ancient tongues, their King James Bible is indeed 
English, A striking instance is the word "righteous," which 
comes from the older English Bibles, and means right- 
wise. The Lord our righteousness is the Lord our right- 
wiseness, a profound meaning which is but faintly in the 
Hebrew and the Greek. Thus in many cases the English 
added content as well as form. But the English words as 
such were preferred. This led naturally to approval of a 
large proportion of the Tyndale translation in preference 
to the Bishops' Bible recommended in the royal directive. 
The simple, straightforward words of Tyndale appealed 
to the 1611 editors as they do to us today, so that his New 
Testament and Pentateuch have come down almost intact, 
except for minor changes. In the choice of phrasings from 
Stationers' Hall a similar standard prevailed. 

Thus, chapter 2:15, of II Timothy in the 1611 Bible 
is, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman 
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word 
of truth." Bois offered three choices: "a faithful laborer, 
a constant laborer, a laborer not ashamed of his work." 
The last editors preferred the English word "workman" 
to the Latin "laborer." 

The date of the English words used also was considered. 
For Titus 2:10 Bois gave a vivid term, "no filchers," which 
was changed to "not purloining." "To filch" dates from 
1561 and was early Elizabethan slang, whereas "to pur- 
loin" dates from 1440 and must have seemed more proper 
for Holy Scriptures. The King James Bible includes few 
words that were novel in 1611. 

For Titus 3 : 8, Bois, who seems sometimes to have been 

a bit earthy, said "be careful to exercise themselves in 
honest trades." The 1611 Bible says, "be careful to main- 
tain good works/' Andrew Downes suggested, for verse 
14, "to profess, to practice honest trades." The published 
verse reads, "learn to maintain good works for necessary 
uses." These readings suggest that the final editors dis- 
liked the word "trades." Yet they could be businesslike. 
When for verse 17 of Philemon, Bois tendered "If thou 
thinkest all things common between us, if mine be thine 
and thine mine," Smith and Bilson approved the prosy 
"If thou count me therefore a partner." 

Beyond thought and skill in the choice of words, and 
beyond even the rhythmic patterns that make poetry, the 
learned men had to think of meaning. At about this time 
Francis Bacon, Lancelot Andrewes' friend, was warning: 
"Whereas the meaning ought to govern the term, the 
term in effect governeth the meaning." An important duty 
of the translators was to see that this did not happen. But 
this required agreement on meaning if not "mine thine 
and thine mine, with all things common between us," 
then at least a working partnership. For the six linguists 
at Stationers' Hall this must have been easier than for 
the many men of varying views in the colleges and at 
Westminster. But the doctrinal implications of the words 
they dealt with must have occasioned many discussions 
during the nine months. 

Perhaps it was no accident that the two final editors 
differed in their views, for thus they could best represent 
the whole group of translators and, indeed, the readers 
for whom all worked. Of the two, Miles Smith was not 
unfriendly to the Puritan point of view and in after years 
acted a good deal in accord with it. Bishop Bilson was a 
dullish, dogged churchman; yet the two balanced each 
other and represented their times. 

About the basic issues they could agree. As a whole 
their great work was of course Protestant, against the 

Church of Rome, which was even then, at Douay In 
France, publishing its own revised Old Testament in 
English. Its translators were mostly expatriate Catholics 
from Oxford, one of them John Rainolds' brother Wil- 
liam. On September 7, 1608, the leading English Catholic, 
Birkhead, wrote a letter to Dr. Thomas Worthington, 
president of Douay College. Birkhead, who for safety 
signed with an alias, George Lamb ton, said "I am glad 
the Bible is so forward/' The complete Douay Bible came 
out in 1610, a year ahead of the King James version. 

The Douay Bible often has its sturdy charm. Yet it 
differs remarkably from the King James Bible. In Psalm 
23 it reads, ''Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and 
my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly it is!" Psalm 
91 begins, "He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High 
shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob." 
Verse 13 says "Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the 
basilisk." Isaiah 61:1 starts, ''Arise, be enlightened, O 
Jerusalem." At places it seems almost as if the Roman and 
the King James Bibles had determined to make their 
words differ as much as they could, to show that their 
standpoints were poles apart. 

Fortunately for their text, the King James men were 
in somewhat better agreement, yet they differed to the 
end. Miles Smith, as final editor, protested that after he 
and Bilson had finished, Bishop Bancroft made fourteen 
more changes. "He is so potent there is no contradicting 
him/' said Smith, and cited as an example of Bancroft's 
bias his insistence on using "the glorious word bishopric" 
even for Judas, in Acts 1:20: "His bishopric let another 

The fact that Smith was the one to protest Bancroft's 
amendments suggests that he stood against both Bilson 
and Bancroft in such matters as the importance of bishop- 
rics. Yet there is some reason to believe that if he stood 
alone, Smith was more than a match for his associates. He 

was admitted to be a modest man yet a hard worker, and 
these combined traits could have given him the oppor- 
tunity to do a great deal to the work about which he had 
except for possible interference from Bilson or Ban- 
croft the final say. 

While others among the translators won praise for pul- 
pit eloquence or strength in argument, there is evidence 
that Smith could write directly and to the point. Besides 
his sermons, which reveal too little of his real talents, 
we have the preface that he wrote for the Bible. Regret- 
tably, those who publish the 1611 Bible now as a rule 
leave it out. It remains a good piece of writing, well worth 
reading for what it says as well as an example of what 
Miles Smith could do with words. 

The whole task of translation could hardly be better 
described than in Smith's terse statement of purpose, "to 
deliver God's book unto God's people in a tongue which 
they understand." This talent for summarizing, for cutting 
through verbiage to say what was meant with force and the 
fewest possible words, was exactly what must have been 
needed at this stage of the work, and it was a talent Smith 
had. He also had the imagination to grasp a meaning 
not immediately obvious, and make it clear, as when he 
quoted St. Augustine's "A man would rather be with his 
dog than with a stranger," and explained the stranger 
as one "whose tongue is strange unto him/' Finally, the 
very structure of his sentences as well as their content 
proves that Smith had energy and determination, what 
he described in a phrase to find an echo in the American 
Constitution as "zeal to promote the common good." 

Again and again the final version shortens or changes 
the careful phrasing of Stationers' Hall to one of the 
memorable homely phrases of the King James version. 
Thus for Hebrews 4: 15, where Andrew Downes suggested, 
"such an one as had experience of all things," the final 
reading became, "in all points tempted like as we are." 

When for Hebrews 6:6 Bois offered, "caused him to be 
had in derision, or traduced him," the king's Bible says, 
"put him to an open shame." 

For a famous verse, Hebrews 11:1, Bois put down, 
"Faith is a most sure warrant of things, is a being of things 
hoped for, a discovery, a demonstration of things that are 
not seen." This became, "Now faith is the substance of 
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 

Sometimes the considerations of rhythm, sound of let- 
ters, and homely English were combined in the changes. 
Thus for Hebrews 11:3, "Things which are seen were 
not made of things which do appear," replaced Bois's 
phrase "made of things that were not extant." Perhaps 
the word "extant" sounded fancy, and also the three t's 
are unattractive. Later in the same chapter, however, the 
final editing slipped into heavy alliteration in the phrase 
of verse 26, "he had respect unto the recompense of the 
reward." Bois had written only, "He looked at the re- 
ward to be rendered," and the Revised Standard Version 
prefers Bois, saying simply, "he looked to the reward." 

The learned men who finished the work had great skill 
with the little words that connect the main words. They 
used them to give swing to their phrases. Many have 
remarked on their taste with short words, on how they 
made them pliant. About this they knew much more than 
those who had dealt with the English Bible before them. 
They tried their best to have their words fitly joined. 

Now and then as they smoothed the Bois phrases they 
made a real change in meaning, as when the Bois phrase 
for Hebrews 12:2, "the leader and finisher of our faith," 
became "the author and finisher of our faith." But mainly 
the editing supplied more direct sentence structure and 
subtler groupings and rhythms. When Bois suggested for 
Hebrews 12:12, "lift up your slack hands and feeble or 
shaking knees," the finished Bible reads "lift up the 
hands which hang down, and the feeble knees." When 

in chapter 13:8 Bols put down, ''yesterday and today the 
same and forever/' we have from a hearing ear, "the same 
yesterday and today and forever/' For Bois's phrase in 
verse 21, "disposing of you, or working with you as it 
please th him," the final reading is "working in you that 
which is well-pleasing in his sight." 

Now and then a phrase with original meaning based 
on a simile proved untranslatable, as when in James 1:5 
Bois's literal rendering of the Greek, "twitting or hitting 
in the teeth" with a sense of casting in the teeth became 
"upbraideth not." Similarly in James 2:10, Bois's verb 
"trip/' rendering a Greek verb meaning to fall down, be- 
came "offend in one point" of the law. But when for 
verse 8 of the first chapter Bois said "a wavering man," 
final editing supplied a more concrete image: "a double- 
minded man." 

Occasionally different words were chosen to avoid rep- 
etition. For I Peter 3:14 Bois said, "fear not their fear, nor 
be troubled," and AL suggested "be not afraid of their 
fear." The final version reads, "be not afraid of their 
terror, neither be troubled." Such changes make appro- 
priate the verse in II Peter i : 19 for which Bois wrote "and 
(hereby) we have the word," and AL said, "and hereby 
the speeches of the prophets are more confirmed unto 
us, are made of greater credit unto us, a more firm speech, 
etc." The edited reading is, "We have also a more sure 
word of prophecy." 

For the complexities of Revelation, Bois really exerted 
himself. Thus for 7:15 he proposed, "He shall pitch his 
tent over them, he shall protect them, he shall dwell with 
them, he shall rest upon them, he shall rule over them," 
and in a note he added one more reading, "He shall 
stretch his pavilion over them." The approved reading 
adapted Bois's third and simplest reading, "He shall dwell 
among them." For chapter 19:9, AL translated "These 
true sayings are of God." For the king's Bible, the master 

rhythmists changed this to "These are the true sayings of 

The final editors had also to supply punctuation and 
decide questions of grammar, unless they were able to 
find helpers for the work which today would be called 
"copy editing." Some points of grammar in the King James 
Bible have bothered readers more than they did the men 
of 1611, who like the Elizabethans wrote with the freedom 
of a language still more or less fluid. What to Christians 
is perhaps the greatest question of all time reads ungram- 
matically, in Matthew 16:13, "Whom do men say that I, 
the Son of man, am?" English grammar has never been 
static; then as always it was growing and the use of pro- 
nouns was changing. "It is me" is today accepted by many 
experts in grammar, and here me is a usage comparable 
to the whom. With their feeling for sound, it is possible 
that the translators considered it far less objectionable 
than "Who do ... ?" 

Some other points of grammar in the King James Bible 
require us simply to forbear in adverse judgment. Eliza- 
bethan grammar has a charm of its own, even when a 
wrong pronoun gives a comic effect; in I Kings 13:27, the 
1611 Bible says, "And he spake unto his sons, saying, 
Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him." The "him" 
is in italics to indicate that it is not in the original He- 
brew, so there can be no argument when subsequent 
versions change "him" to "it." 

Whether Smith and Bilson attended only to the final 
details of publishing scripts that were nearly complete 
except for disputed passages worked over at Stationers' 
Hall, or whether they are to be credited with a final 
editing that made the King James version into literature, 
cannot be decided from the data now at hand. From the 
first there were among the translators, as we have seen, 
men hailed in their own time as masters of language, 
sweet preachers, persuasive, and of a pretty wit. Rainolds, 


Andrewes, Savile, Layfield, Bing any of these, and sev- 
eral others, might well have contributed chapters so well 
turned as to require no rewriting. The difficulty is that, 
to a modern reader, the thought occurs that nothing in 
all their many volumes of sermons and other writing 
seems to march with the Bible cadence quite as does the 
prefatory address to the reader written by Miles Smith. 
On this similarity (which does not extend to his sermons) 
must rest any case for saying that Smith brought to the 
final editing its real inspiration. 

The 1611 Bible had also to be prefaced by an address to 
the king. We do not know who addressed James as "Your 
majesty . . . the principal Mover and Author of the 
work." The task of this writing would have been con- 
sidered an honor, and must have been one congenial to 
Bishop Bilson, perhaps with help from Bancroft. In his 
preface to the reader, which even contained a polite refer- 
ence to Bishop Bancroft, Miles Smith said simply and 
fairly: "And what can the King command to be done, 
that will bring him more true honor than this?" 


The ^Bible ^Printed 

There was no competition for the job of printing the new 
Bible. It went to Robert Barker, the royal printer, who 
also published it. His father, Christopher Barker, had 
received from Queen Elizabeth the sole right to print 
English Bibles, books of common prayer, statutes, and 
proclamations. On the death of Christopher Barker in 
1599 the queen had given to his son, Robert Barker, the 
office of Queen's Printer for life with the same monopoly. 
The Barkers and their heirs were to keep their right to 
publish the King James Bible for a hundred years. 1 

Also from the Crown, Robert Barker had received in 
1603 a lease on the manor of Upton, near Windsor, for 
twenty years at a rental of twenty pounds a year. Both 
father and son lived in London at Bacon House in Noble 
Street, Aldersgate. Their printing shop was nearby in St. 
Paul's churchyard at the sign of the Tiger's Head, a device 
on the arms of Sir Francis Walsingham, the friend of the 
Puritans. Thus we may assume that the Barkers shared 
in the Puritan trend. 

For the new Bible Robert Barker laid out 3500, a 
large sum even for the royal printer. He appears to have 
obtained a new cast type, boldface for the text, with 
lighter Roman letters for the words which have no coun- 

1 It was Barker who in 1631 printed the so-called "Wicked Bible" with 
the error which omitted not from the seventh commandment. 

terpart in the ancient-language texts but which the learned 
men had to insert for making sense in English. (In modern 
editions such words are printed in italic type.) The en- 
graved title page shows Moses and Aaron standing in 
niches with the seated figures of Matthew, Mark, Luke, 
and John at the corners. This is signed C. Boel Cornelius 
Boel, an Antwerp artist. Alas, this 1611 Bible omitted 
the full-page Garden of Eden, with all the fierce and 
harmless creatures lying around, that was in the Bishops' 
Bible. However, the whole is a handsome, well-printed 
folio. The linen and rag paper, after more than three 
hundred years, is tough and pleasant to look at and to 
touch. The first issue is today as easy to read as ever, 
though the type face, of course, is antiquated. 

Of the actual printing we know nothing. Who were 
the humble printers, the craftsmen? Who read the proof? 
How long did the great process take? What was the selling 
price? There were two printings of the new Bible in 1611. 
How many copies were there of each issue? These are 
questions for which others may sometime find answers. 

We do know that Miles Smith and Thomas Bilson, 
Bishop of Winchester, saw the volume through the press. 
Conceivably they read proofs. The handwritten copy from 
which the printers worked remained in Barker's posses- 
sion, though there were complaints against his keeping 
it. In time it vanished. 

There were, of course, mistakes made by the printers, 
averaging about one in ten pages. The first folio was 
known as the "He" Bible from a confusion of pronouns 
in Ruth 3:15, which made the verse end "and he went 
into the city." Corrected, the second folio became the 
"She" Bible. 

What of the first copies off the press? Did Miles Smith 
and any or all of the other translators get a free copy of 
the new Bible? Did they or their churches have to buy 

We may even ask, did Smith have a copy at hand to 
use? Let us look at some of his sermons, published in 
1633, after his death. It is not certain when the sermons 
were composed but it seems likely that most of them were 
delivered after 1612. Some of them he may have written 
while the 1611 Bible was in progress. We would expect 
that he, of all men, would quote from the work to which 
he gave his skill. 

However, when he preached on Jeremiah 9:23, 24, the 
wording of his text differed at two points from that of 
the King James Bible. Smith said: "Let not the wise man 
glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man glory in his 
strength, neither the rich man glory in his riches; but let 
him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and 
knoweth me." The 1611 Bible used mighty and might 
for strong and strength, and there are other, slighter 

When Smith quoted Zechariah 1:5, 6, he also used an 
older version: "Your fathers, where are they? And do the 
prophets live for ever? But did not my words and my 
statutes, which I commanded by my servants the prophets, 
take hold of your fathers?" Here the King James trans- 
lators changed the order of the phrases. 

For his sermon on Jeremiah 6:16 Smith used the exact 
words of the King James Bible: "Thus saith the Lord, 
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, 
where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall 
find rest for your souls." But he shortened and simplified 
Ecclesiastes 10:1, saying, "Dead flies corrupt the ointment 
of the apothecary," where the 1611 wording is, "Dead 
flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a 
stinking savor." 

Not only Smith but Lancelot Andrewes and many of 
the other translators continued to refer to older versions 
for a long time. Dr. Andrewes, now Bishop of Ely, was 

still using an old Bible on November i, 1617. Preaching 
before the king at Whitehall, he took his text Isaiah 
37:3, "The children were come to birth, and there was 
no strength to deliver them" from another Bible than 
the one on which he had labored. He quoted an old phras- 
ing of Deuteronomy 33:17, "With these thou shalt strike 
thine enemies, and push them as any wild beast." For 
Hebrews 12:14 he used, "Without^ holiness shall no man 
ever see God," a reading only a little off the King James. 
However, when he referred to Ezekiel 33:32, he really 
let himself go: "But all hearing (as Ezekiel complaineth) 
a sermon preached no otherwise than we do a ballad 
sung." EzekieFs complaint in the 1611 Bible is far from 
that. From Revelation 14:11 Andrewes spoke of "the lake 
of fire and brimstone, the smoke of which shall ascend for 
ever more," which again is hardly a quotation. 

Familiarity with the ancient texts seems to have given 
the translators what they regarded as a license for private 
interpretation; perhaps they thought in another tongue 
and translated as they spoke. This had long been customary 
with a clergy that was, as Smith said in his preface, "exer- 
cised almost from our very cradle" in Latin. And now, 
for the task just accomplished, they had steeped themselves 
in Hebrew and Greek. 

But how soon did preachers begin to quote from the 
new version? We may say fairly that the King James Bible 
was in some sense a success from the start, going quickly 
from the two folio editions into smaller quarto and 
octavo sizes; yet it caught on slowly. It appears that at 
first both clergy and laymen found fault with the product 
of the learned men. Once, for instance, Dr. Richard Kilby, 
the translator in the Old Testament group at Oxford, 
heard a young parson complain in an earnest sermon that 
a certain passage should read in a way he stated. After the 
sermon Dr. Kilby took the young man aside and told him 


that the group had discussed at length not only his pro- 
posed reading but thirteen others; only then had they 
decided on the phrasing as it appeared. 

Did other writers of the James I reign adopt the new 
Bible quickly? Robert Burton published his Anatomy of 
Melancholy in 1621, after toiling on it for years in his 
happy study at Christ Church, Oxford. As far as is dis- 
coverable, he never used the 1611 Bible, though he lived 
among some of the chief translators and had come to 
Christ Church through the efforts of Leonard Hutton, 
later a translator, then canon there. Thus Burton quoted 
Romans 1:21, 22: "They were vain in their imaginations, 
and their foolish heart was full of darkness. When they 
professed themselves wise, they became fools." The 1611 
changes in these verses are minor but important to the 
style. For Job 4:18, he wrote on the same page: "Behold, 
he found no steadfastness in his servants, and laid folly 
upon his angels." Compare with the King James verse: 
"Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels 
he charged with folly." Clearly Burton was working with 
older Bibles, without getting around to the new version. 
Just as clearly, the King James reading, with its balanced 
rhythm, is the better. 

Dr. John Donne, today thought of as poet rather than 
as preacher, seems to have used the King James version 
irregularly. In the recent edition of his sermons the first 
is that preached on April 30, 1615, at Greenwich, on 
Isaiah 52:13, which is taken from the 1611 Bible. Later 
in this sermon he quoted, from an early Bible, Isaiah 
55:1: "Ho every one that thirsteth come to the waters, 
and ye that have no silver, come, buy and eat: come, I say, 
buy wine and milk, without silver and without money." 
At Paul's Cross, March 24, 1617, he made, so one wrote 
in a letter, "a dainty sermon." It lasted two and a half 
hours! There his text, Proverbs 22:11, was from the 1611 

version. The now lofty translator, Archbishop Abbot, was 

Before the king at Whitehall, April 12, 1618, Donne 
quoted Job 1:1 from some early Bible: "There was a man 
in the land of Huz, called Job, an upright and just man 
that feared God/' At the height of his powers, Christmas 
Day, 1626, he preached at St. Paul's on Luke 2:29, 30, 
using the King James phrasing. There however he cited 
Isaiah 62:1 from an early Bible: "Oh that thou wouldst 
rend the heavens and come down/' It was in this sermon 
that he said, "When my soul prays without any voice, my 
very body is then a temple/' More and more he now 
seemed to use the 1611 Bible, for at St. Paul's on Whitsun- 
day, 1627, though he shortened Acts 2:1-4, he gave 
virtually the King James wording. 

How much did the King James Bible impress itself 
on the Plymouth Pilgrims? Three of their preachers, 
though they never came to Plymouth, were Henry Ains- 
worth, Henry Jacob, and John Robinson. There is al- 
most nothing to show that any of them ever used the King 
James Bible. 

Those who cut themselves off from the English Church 
often chose to divorce themselves from the Church Scrip- 
tures too, and to use a Bible less tainted, as it seemed to 
them e.g., the Geneva or to make their own trans- 
lations, if they were capable of it. Thus Ainsworth 
rendered some of the Scriptures in his own way while 
the king's translators were working. His Psalm 23 is 
worth giving here. "Jehovah feedeth me, I shall not lack. 
In folds of budding grass he maketh me to lie down; he 
easily leadeth me by the waters of rests. He returneth my 
soul; he leadeth me in the beaten paths of justice, for 
his name sake. Yea, though I should walk in the valley 
of the shade of death, I will not fear evil, for thou wilt 
be with me, thy rod and thy staff they shall comfort me. 

Thou furnishest before me a table in presence of rny dis- 
tresses; thou makest fat my head with oil; my cup is 
abundant. Doubtless good and mercy shall follow me 
all the days of my life; and I shall converse in the house 
of Jehovah to length of days." This was Psalm 23 as for 
many years the Pilgrims knew it. They had and preferred 
all the Psalms in Ainsworth's somewhat roughened prose. 
Elder William Brewster, when he died in 1644, left some 
of Ainsworth's books. 

Henry Jacob, while in England, engaged in an intense 
conflict with the translator Thomas Bilson, Bishop of 
Winchester. Bilson he charged with "equivocation" and 
"most impertinent, ambiguous and uncertain writing/' 
The origin of the dispute is obscure, but much of it was 
about bishops and their supposed functions. Jacob quoted 
Bilson as saying, "The kingdom and throne which Christ 
reserved for himself far passeth directing and ordering 
on outward things in the church which he hath left to 
others." Countering, Jacob said, "Nay sure, he hath not 
left it to others. He still reserveth this authority and 
dignity to himself under the gospel as well as he did under 
the law." To put it bluntly, how Christ governs the 
church must depend, so it seemed to Jacob, on what the 
local church, its pastor and its people decide is his will 
good Congregational doctrine. We could hardly expect 
this kindly but determined rebel to lean on the 1611 
Bible, which Bishop Bilson had helped keep within the 
fixed framework of the Church. On John 10:5 Jacob said 
with feeling, "His sheep hear his voice; a stranger's 
voice they will flee from." He spoke at the synod of Dort 
which discussed the new Bible. A few years later, about 
1622, Jacob crossed the ocean to Virginia and started a 
pastorate of his own. 

John Robinson, pastor of the Pilgrims at Leyden, and 
a friend of the Puritan translator Laurence Chaderton, 
was citing older Scriptures as late as 1625. Thus for 


Psalm 41:2 he gave, "O blessed Is he that prudently at- 
tendeth the poor weakling/' which is far from the King 
James rendering. For I Timothy 3:15 he offered, "that 
he might know how to converse in the church of God/* 
(To converse, remember, meant to behave.) From Robin- 
son's sometimes piquant writings, which include many 
verses from the old Bibles, we get the picture of a beloved 

The Pilgrims, among them remnants of the Brownists, 
were almost as much against the Puritans as they were 
against the high churchmen and the papists. So they were 
slow, it appears, to accept the King James Bible, put out 
by those who had harassed them. In the long run the 
1611 Bible, because of its stature, triumphed with the 
Pilgrims as with their old foes, except those in the Church 
of Rome, and to it they referred all details of daily living. 

In England too, acceptance of the new Bible was to 
depend on the climate of controversy. That was changing, 
and eventually the King James version would become a 
frame of reference to be cited as authority. But at the 
start it partook of the personal controversies and asso- 
ciations of the translators themselves, and so roused op- 
position. The old Arminian bitterness was not forgotten, 
though now, under Bancroft, the state Church had been 
leaning somewhat toward Arminian doctrines. The be- 
liefs of Calvin that God had destined all events, great and 
small, were giving way a little to the belief that God 
destined only in part, with good works of value along 
with the faith of the elect. It was argued that Calvin's 
predestination, so valuable to the Puritans because it freed 
man from the tyranny of Rome, made God the author of 
sin and gave false security to those who believed them- 
selves the elect. Besides "Dutch" Thomson, many of the 
translators, among them Overall, Bois, and Richardson, 
were counted on the Arminian side. Laurence Chaderton 
and young Samuel Ward were of the opposition and 

Bishop Abbot stood firmly opposed; no Arminian could 
ever appease him. But the king, who spoke out against 
Arminians abroad, endured them and was even pleasant 
to them at home. A joke of the time asked, What do the 
Arminians hold? The answer was, they hold the best 
deaneries and bishoprics in England. 

Other dissenters still had their troubles. From the Arian 
heresy evolved, after a long time, the Unitarians. Yet 
the Church felt it must kill the first of these heretics to 
speak out in the time of James, without objection from 
the king, who had promised no bloodshed over religion. 

Bartholomew Legate, already mentioned, was one who 
believed that Jesus was a mere man, that there was no 
virgin birth, no Incarnation. When he preached this 
belief, both George Abbot and Lancelot Andrewes of 
the translators approved his sentence to death. Abbot 
indeed wrote a letter to Lord Ellesmere, the Lord Chancel- 
lor, saying that the king "did not much desire that the 
Lord Coke should be called" to the trial., "lest by his 
singularity in opinion he should give stay to the business." 
There was no stay; the trial moved to its ruthless end. 
In Smithfield Market on March 18, 1611, at the urging 
of Andrewes, Abbot, and other firmly irate divines, the 
king's agents burned Bartholomew Legate at the stake. 

A few days later on March 24, the seventh anniversary 
of James's accession, Andrewes now Bishop of Ely 
preached before the king at Whitehall. Through times 
that had been enough to disturb him to the utmost, he 
had kept his pious bearing. His text was Psalm 118:22-24, 
"This is the Lord's day; it is marvelous in our eyes'* 
a verse he had used previously for thanksgiving after dis- 
covery of the Guy Fawkes plot. "This stone is the head," 
Andrewes declared, meaning the king, "made by God." 
Words spoken in hope, surely, for the last few months 
must have been for Andrewes a time of most earnest 
prayer and legitimate expectation. 

Before Christmas the great bell at St. Paul's had tolled 
the news that the see of Canterbury was once more vacant. 
Richard Bancroft died November 10, 1610, before he 
could hold in his hands the printed Bible he had first 
opposed at Hampton Court, then had taken under his 
charge to please the king. Many of the clergy and the 
people thought with pleasure that at last Lancelot An- 
drewes, who had a living odor of sainthood, would rise to 
the summit. 

Ever since the death of Archbishop Whitgift in 1604 
and the choice of Bancroft for the great place, Andrewes 
must have worked with quiet hope in his sermons, in all 
his acts during those years, and his patient work on the 
Bible. Though John Bois, Miles Smith, and many others 
had worked harder on the translation than Andrewes, 
they were minor figures in the Church, compared with 
him. The supreme gift of the king could rightly reward 
his faith and good works as a prelate. Among God's 
elect he clearly deserved the chief crown of the righteous 
or rightly wise, and a long life of power. 

King James delayed. True, Andrewes was among the 
highest of the high churchmen, and had many potent 
friends. The king loved his preaching. But on the other 
hand James, a Scotsman, thought of the Scots. On October 
21, 1610, Lancelot Andrewes, George Abbot, and two 
other bishops had consecrated in the chapel of a London 
house three bishops of Scotland, the first thus to receive 
holy sanction from the Church of England. Bishop Abbot 
had wholly sympathized with the king's haste to see the 
Scottish Church established, which he understood as clearly 
as he had understood the royal desire for a speedy end to 
Bartholomew Legate. In Legate's burning Andrewes had 
concurred, but now he balked somewhat at the royal 
will. The difficulty was that the new Scottish prelates were 
men of low degree in the Church, as none were eligible 
for such advancement. Abbot, a practical man, saw no 

harm in their rapid elevation. But Lancelot Andrewes, 
though he participated in the ceremony, let it be known 
that he felt it to be unseemly. 

Now there were months of suspense about Andrewes' 
own advancement, during which he must have composed 
some of his most fervent daily prayers. Translated from 
the Latin he used, these private devotions exist today 
in his published works. 

At length on March 18, just before the burning of 
Bartholomew Legate, the king made his choice. To suc- 
ceed Richard Bancroft he picked a man whom none had 
backed in the open not the learned Bishop of Ely, but 
the Bishop of London, prosy George Abbot. Abbot him- 
self said that he was wonder-struck. 

George Abbot thus arrived at enough success for any- 
one. On his knees in sincere thankfulness for he cannot 
have taken seriously the story about his mother and the 
pike he must have been sure that God and the word of 
God, newly rendered, had impelled him on to the goal. 

Installed by proxy May 16, 1611, a month after he had 
begun to live at Lambeth, Archbishop Abbot threw him- 
self with vigor into the varied doings of his office. While 
his preferment amazed and depressed the Anglicans, the 
Puritans, to whom he was friendly, tried to conceal their 
happy hopes. At the court the king was cordial, and even 
the queen, though in secret a papist with no use for him, 
deigned to speak to him with a polite show. Soon he took 
his seat on the privy council. James desired him to be 
lavish with social life at Lambeth Palace. His income from 
the Church made him one of the richest men in England, 
able to live in grandeur amid the music, the colors, the 
forms which the best English talent contrived. Within 
his realm he could command service proper for his high 
estate, could exert power and enjoy feeling power, in 
designs that he had long craved as the most noble on earth. 
In his day this sullen translator with a Puritan bent, now 

the highest prelate in Great Britain, had become the 
most famous of all the learned men. 

The new archbishop was honest and a hard worker. 
He tended to be a low churchman where Lancelot An- 
drewes, that more gracious translator, would have been 
high, and where James himself might have preferred 
stricter forms. An odd man to follow Richard Bancroft, 
Abbot felt bound to lead, and he did have some measure 
of leadership in his narrow, crabbed make-up. Yet one 
of his lacks was that he had never held a post in which 
he had to concern himself with the care of souls. Out of 
touch with the common people, he was often tactless 
and stupid. With little zeal for or skill in preaching, he 
was born just to have views, to manage, and to command. 
He was a great one to reprove, and though tender to the 
scruples of the Puritans, he maintained that all should 
comply with the forms of worship enjoined by the law 
of the land. With all his scowls he was deeply pious and 
never flinched in his duty, which he knew to be a light 
to guide and a rod to check the erring. 

Abbot's gain of the highest church post and Legate's 
loss of his life marked the year of publication of the King 
James Bible, and characterized the England that received 
it. Abbot's elevation probably helped the new version 
along, as Andrewes' would have done. Legate's fate sug- 
gests that it was needed. And Miles Smith's preface, though 
he began like an Elizabethan playwright with an apology 
to the reader, really meant not to apologize but to reprove 
the world he addressed. 

"Zeal to promote the common good," Smith began, 
"whether it be by devising anything ourselves, or revising 
that which hath been labored by others, deserveth cer- 
tainly much respect and esteem, but yet findeth but cold 
entertainment in the world." (Note the use of "devising" 
and "revising" in the manner of Lyly.) "It is welcomed 
with suspicion instead of with love. . . . For was there 

ever any thing projected, that savored any way of newness 
or renewing, but the same endured many a storm of gain- 
saying, or opposition? A man would think that civility, 
wholesome laws, learning and eloquence, synods and 
church maintenance (that we speak of no more things of 
this kind) should be as safe as a sanctuary, and out of 
shot, as they say, that no man would lift up the heel, no, 
nor dog move his tongue against the motioners of them/' 
Yet, rather, Smith went on, "He that meddleth with men's 
religion in any part meddleth with their custom, nay, 
with their freehold: and though they can find no content 
in that which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear 
of any altering. . . ." 

And so, at the end of the great Bible task, Smith sadly 
but bravely anticipated opposition. "If we will be sons of 
the truth, we must consider that it speaketh, and trample 
upon our own credit, yea, and upon other men's too, 
if either be in any way a hindrance." 

Happily, the royal command at Hampton Court could 
give the new version enough prestige to insure its adop- 
tion, in time, by all the churchmen loyal to the Crown. 
Other authorization there was none, although like the 
Bishops' Bible of 1585 the new Bible called itself "Author- 
ized" and "Appointed to be read in churches." How that 
came about is uncertain; perhaps the phrase was merely 
picked up from the old title page. And so, although 
there is no record that Abbot, Bancroft before him, or 
any with power to do so ever "authorized" the King 
James Bible, people speak of it as the Authorized Version. 

Although the new Bible could supplant the Bishops' 
Bible in the churches (the latter was not reprinted after 
1611), it was at first too big a volume for daily household 
use. It could spread widely among the people only when, 
in the octavo edition of 1612, it became small enough to 
be read by the fireside, held in the hand instead of rest- 
ing on a table. For fires were still used for lights in Eng- 

lish cottages, as well as for burning dissenters in the market 

More, people such people as thronged Smithfield to 
watch Bartholomew Legate burned had to learn to read. 
Presumably the first common people to read the new 
Bible were the nameless workers in Robert Barker's print 
shop who put it through the press. There, at the sign of 
the Tiger's Head, they ably abetted the men who were 
learned in tongues. All wrought with their minds and 
their hands to perfect for us the work, approved unto 
God, rightly setting forth the word of truth. 


Rewards and Sequels 

All o the learned men, each in his degree, had some 
worldly success. What writers of the age outside the Church 
could be certain of plenty to live on? God supplied His 
own with what they needed. In that faith, the learned men 
were secure as they sought their stipends from those in 
charge of sacred administration. On the whole they lived 
in sedate order, fitting for their weighty work. 

Giles Thomson, for instance, who had been Dean of 
Windsor, became Bishop of Gloucester in 1611 before 
the Bible came out. But he never got even to visit his 
see; within a year he died. 

On September 20, 1616, Miles Smith succeeded Thom- 
son as Bishop of Gloucester, being ordained to that office 
at Croydon, then just outside London but now part of 
the city. Archbishop Abbot must have had much to do 
with this reward for Miles Smith, which was, they said, 
mainly for his writing the preface to the improved Bible. 

Gloucester is in the west of England, farther from 
London than many other sees. It was, one might think, 
a sort of safe refuge. The church needed repairs, which 
Smith was slow in making. One of his chief concerns was 
to keep the table for the Lord's Supper lengthwise in the 
nave, instead of crosswise before the altar; for the latter 
arrangement was seen as a symbol stressing the real pres- 
ence, the belief that the body and blood of Christ Jesus 

are in the bread and wine, a concept from which the 
Puritans shied away. We can understand why people 
contended about the placing of the table only as we see 
that the Puritans deemed the doctrine of the real presence 
popish and were staunchly against it. The High Church 
of England, on the other hand, wished in many ways to 
approach the Church of Rome and yet remain itself. 

At Westminster Abbey, Archbishop Abbot was making 
changes that seemed Puritan. He refused bowing at the 
altar and at the name of Christ. The choir, the organ, and 
the cope went slowly into disuse. The whole service was 
now so simple that it could have pleased Calvin. Prelates 
verging on the Puritan, such as Abbot and Smith, doubted 
the need for bishops, and yet were eager enough to be 
bishops themselves. There were many rumbles before 
the lashing storm to come. If the Puritans were gaining 
strength, so was the High Church of England. 

Soon a rising man named William Laud became Dean 
of Gloucester, determined to oppose each Puritan practice 
of Bishop Smith. Others than Abbot must have advised 
the king to send Laud there. In 1616 Laud, always ruth- 
less, went straight against the dictates of Smith, put the 
table again before the altar, restored the cope and the 
bowings, and made the service at Gloucester high enough 
to express his almost popish aims. As dean, he had power 
to order all this. Abbot and Smith both despised Laud 
and his changes, which restored the dearest trappings 
of priesthood. However, as Laud had the ear of the king, 
formal counter orders would have been highly unwise. 

Bishop Smith left the great church buildings in dudgeon, 
and declared that he would stay away until Laud removed 
the hated symbols. The town was in an uproar. Most of 
the people were for Bishop Smith. They met and marched 
in the streets, in effect picketing Laud and what was to 
them wicked nonsense. Yet the ascent of Laud was rapid 
and sure. The people and their bishop in due course had 

to give up their revolt, which now appeared hopeless. 
They suppressed their outward disdain, because the 
Church was still theirs to love. It might have been some 
comfort to them i they could have known, as we know 
today, how Laud was at length to fall. 

Just now in Gloucester any prospect of his fall was 
remote. Miles Smith, who was getting on in years, had 
to smother much of his chagrin. Through his trials, his 
sermons show, his own virtue gave him a secret gladness. 
His joy that he was a Puritan, and therefore right, no 
man could take from him. 

A private quarrel at this time disrupted a long friend- 
ship between two of the translators, both good men and 
whole-hearted scholars. At the time they worked together 
at Stationers' Hall, Andrew Downes and John Bois were 
also aiding their associate Sir Henry Savile in his mam- 
moth eight-volume edition of St. Chrysostom. How could 
they undertake so much work? Here is a measure of their 
scholarship and energy, but overexertion may have af- 
fected their tempers. Unhappily, they fell into intense 
conflict over the greater credit that Sir Henry Savile 
seemed, to Downes, to give to Bois for their help on the 
whalelike private opus. 

The Bois and Downes notes on St. Chrysostom are all 
in Latin and Greek. Judging from the writing, there are 
as many by the one as by the other. They extend to scores 
of pages. Savile seems to have been fair in giving credit 
to both. Sometimes he wrote non probo, I do not prove, 
beside some comment by one or the other of his helpers. 
Downes grew so jealous that he stopped speaking to his 
former pupil, while the milder Bois went on praising 
his former teacher. In his smallness the zeal of the Lord 
turned inward and almost consumed Downes. Fortunately 
the break between them came after the two had finished 
their nine months' work at Stationers' Hall. 
Savile and Downes, too, became wholly estranged. On 

the other hand, Savile and Bois remained friends. Once 
when Sir Henry lay sick, Lady Savile said that if he died, 
she would burn Chrysostom for killing her husband. Bois 
replied that Chrysostom was one of the sweetest preachers 
since the apostles, and so satisfied her that she said she 
would not do it for all the world. Sir Henry survived. 
But now the whole massive eight volumes of Savile's St. 
Chrysostom are dead upon the shelves that hold rare 
books, while the superb Bible to which Bois, Downes, 
and Savile gave their best efforts lives on. 

Meanwhile, Archbishop Abbot, because of his office, had 
to mingle more than any other translator in events that 
concerned the nation. Streaming tears, he sat by the bed 
of young Henry, Prince of Wales, who died of cold and 
fever on November 6, 1612. His prayer at the deathbed 
was "most exceeding powerful, passionate/' Then he 
preached at the burial service in Westminster Abbey. 
Next he married the Princess Elizabeth to the Elector 
Palatine, on February 12, 1613. Thus, so one writer praised 
God a hundred years ago, began the line which brought 
to Great Britain the blessing of good Queen Victoria. 

Abbot could be fulsome about the king, with whom 
he was often at odds. The life of King James, he said, 
"hath been so immaculate and unspotted in the world, 
so free from all touch of viciousness and staining im- 
putation, that even malice itself, which leaveth nothing 
unsearched, could never find true blemish in it, nor cast 
probably aspersion on it. ... All must acknowledge him 
to be zealous as David, learned and wise, the Solomon of 
our age, religious as Josiah, careful of spreading Christ's 
faith as Constantine the great, just as Moses, undefiled 
in all his ways as Jehoshaphat, or Hezekiah, full of clem- 
ency as another Theodosius." Such pratings were just 
churchly eyewash, wholly absurd. 

Troubles piled up for the archbishop. Frances Howard, 
Countess of Essex, was suing to void her marriage. At 

thirteen she had married the Earl of Essex, then fourteen, 
son of the Essex whose head Queen Elizabeth had ordered 
cut off. It had been a foolish marriage followed by ten 
years of contention and falling away from grace. Now 
the countess, doubtless goaded on by King James himself, 
was nerving herself to marry Robert Carr, Viscount 
Rochester, new Earl of Somerset, a former page whom the 
king had quickly pushed forward. The case was messy 
and Archbishop Abbot found himself in the thick of it. 

As one of the group named to adjudge the merits of the 
pleas, Abbot, staying with the king at Windsor, fell on 
his knees and begged release. Most writers have called 
this the case of the Essex divorce. It was rather a suit to 
annul the marriage. Both Church and state had to deal 
with it. Abbot was honest enough to declare his qualms; 
the king induced him to go on seeking the facts, but as it 
were, packed the court by adding to it some of whom he 
was sure. The chief of these was Thomas Bilson, Bishop 
of Winchester, Miles Smith's associate in the final draft 
of the Bible. 

Always Bilson was discreet in being for the High 
Church. He remained so now. What seemed to be a simple 
case of divorce was clearly for the Church to oppose, but 
Bilson knew which side his bread was buttered on. Abbot's 
dislike for him grew intense. The discord between them, 
though less open, was greater than that between those 
other translators, John Bois and Andrew Dowries. Downes 
was merely jealous of Bois because Bois seemed to get 
more credit than he for the work both did for Sir Henry 
Savile. Abbot was averse to Bilson because of wholly 
opposed viewpoints. Low where Bilson was high, Abbot 
was still a good enough churchman to deplore any sem- 
blance of divorce, which the Church had to condemn. 

Many a witness gave vivid evidence, all damning to 
the earl, though he was merely a helpless wight. Plainly 
he and his wife wanted to quit each other. In his brave 

survey of the case, Abbot said among other things, "Inas- 
much as we firmly believe that the Scripture doth directly 
or by consequence contain in it sufficient matter to decide 
all controversies, especially in all things appertaining to 
the church, as that marriage among Christians can be 
no less accounted than a sacred thing ... I would be 
glad to know, and by what text of Scripture, either by the 
old or new testament, a man may have a warrant to make 
a nullity of a marriage solemnly celebrated/' 

King James answered in person: "That the Scripture 
doth directly or by consequence contain sufficient matter 
to decide all controversies, especially in this appertaining 
to the church: This in my opinion is preposterous, and 
one of the Puritans' arguments, without a better distinc- 
tion of application." Abbot, by the way, quoted Matthew 
19:12 from an old Bible, though he had helped trans- 
late that very passage in the new Bible. Then, with 
courage to stand against the king, Abbot voted against 
the dissolution of the marriage. The toady translator, 
Bishop Thomas Bilson, voted yes, and with others of like 
mind, prevailed, seven to six. King James had insured 
the verdict. 

The countess, freed from Essex, soon married Carr. 
There followed a further scandal. Young Sir Thomas 
Overbury, a crude poet, had helped Carr and the countess 
during their intrigue, but had balked at the thought of 
their being husband and wife. So the hapless poet got 
sent to the Tower. There he languished and, in extreme 
pain, died. In time Lady Somerset confessed that she had 
connived to bring about his death, as a tool now turned 
against her and her new husband. The first poisoned 
fruit tarts went astray. Then the keeper, at the instance 
of a drug man whom the Somersets had secured, fed 
Sir Thomas white arsenic; aqua fortis, which is nitric 
acid; mercury; powder of diamonds; lapis causticus; great 
spiders; and cantharides, which are dried beetles or Span- 

ish flies. All these worked slowly. At the end the keeper 
gave the doomed man a clyster of corrosive sublimate. 
During the trial King James brought up the subject of 
witchcraft, largely to show off his crafty power to reason. 
Four were put to death for the crime. James at length 
pardoned the Earl and Countess of Somerset, who left 
the court to become misty figures in the background of 
the time. 

Honest Archbishop Abbot felt sorely troubled about 
his failure to prevent all this. Yet he was full of notions 
of his own. He brought in, to replace Carr in the king's 
favor, young George Villiers, who got out of the prelate's 
hand, and rose quickly to be Duke of Buckingham. The 
duke's story is beyond our range, but in time all who 
wanted to promote any schemes and to get on in the 
Stuart world had to bribe this flaunting upstart. Such 
doings reflect the social tone of the times through which 
the 1611 Bible had to make its way. 

Nevertheless the King James Bible began to seep into 
common living. First it made progress in the churches, 
where the clergy here and there preached from it. Listeners 
took to heart and treasured certain verses, sometimes 
because they were novel and striking, sometimes because 
they were apt and fluent. Then the new Bible found its 
way into some homes for reading, for learning to read, 
and for times of prayer. More careful study evolved by 
degrees, until the phrasings passed into daily language. 
This progress can be traced through writings of the 
Stuart period. 

Effects of the revised Bible on conduct, in accordance 
with Abbot's plea that the Scriptures could answer all 
controversies, are harder to trace. Many have argued that 
it had an appreciable effect on English morality. At any 
rate the common people came to depend on it for stricter 

Amid more rewards for the learned men, there were 

more deaths too, as if their labors on the Bible had been 
too much. Dr. John Aglionby had died in the prime o 
life while the Bible was in the press. When an older 
translator, Dr. Thomas Holland, died, a fellow translator, 
Dr. Richard Kilby, preached his funeral sermon at St. 
Mary's, Oxford. Among others who died in these first few 
years after 1611 were John Harmer, Warden of St. Mary's 
College; George Ravis, Warden of New College; John 
Spenser, who had succeeded Rainolds as president of 
Corpus Christi College, Oxford; and Richard Thomson, 
the fat-bellied Arminian, who, they said, went to bed 
drunk each night. The only translator who is known to 
have traveled abroad after 1611 was William Bedwell; 
in 1612 he journeyed to Leyden to see Scaliger's Arabian 
books and papers. 

In 1614 John Overall, Dean of St. Paul's, the translator 
whose wife ran away only to return under duress, became 
Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. William Barlow, who 
had been at the Hampton Court meeting and had written 
up that conclave, and who had worked hard on the Bible, 
now rose to be Bishop of Lincoln, after having had the 
least see of Rochester. Bishop Lancelot Andrewes made 
worthy John Bois, who left us his painful notes, a prebend 
of Ely a reward that seems tiny for his minute toil. 

Then on June 16, 1616, died the Bishop of Winchester, 
Thomas Bilson. His long service to the king, rather than 
his work with Miles Smith on the final Bible draft, made it 
seem fitting to bury him in Westminster Abbey. Bilson's 
death left one of the best sees in England open for a good 
man. Lancelot Andrewes, we recall, had hoped to be 
primate after Bancroft died but had lost out to Abbot. 
At length, doubtless approved by Low Church Abbot, 
this high churchman who got along well with all became 
Bishop of Winchester. More and more he used the 1611 
Bible in his sermons. 

Others who died in this period were Jeremy Radcliffe; 

John Perm, Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; Dr. Ralph 
Ravens, Dean of Wells; and Dr. John Duport, Warden 
of Magdalen College. On November 6, 1617, died Dr. 
John Layfield, the translator who had gone on a voyage 
to the West Indies and written an Elizabethan account of 
it. Long Rector of St. Clement Danes in London, the 
famous church later associated with Dr. Samuel Johnson, 
Layfield had just repaired the steeple. 

The next year John Overall, Bishop of Lichfield and 
Coventry, rose a few notches to be Bishop of Norwich, 
where the Puritans had been strong but where he leaned 
toward Arminianisrn. Within a year he too was dead. 
While the Pilgrims were landing on Cape Cod, on No- 
vember 7, 1620, Dr. Richard Kilby, Rector of Lincoln 
College, Oxford, died at sixty. 

Like most Puritans, Archbishop Abbot believed in 
strict keeping of the Sabbath. In 1618 the king issued an 
edict in which he approved of sports on Sunday after all 
the sacred duties had been observed. Abbot, who was stay- 
ing at Croydon, forbade the reading of this edict in the 
parish church there. Trying to live in accordance with 
the Bible, he knew that God Himself rested on the seventh 
day, surely without turning to games. In after years Abbot 
was to speak of James I as "my master," yet he was often 
fearless to oppose the king. 

Even after showing his disapproval of the edict about 
Sabbath sports, Archbishop Abbot remained enough in 
favor to preach at the funeral service for Queen Anne 
on March 13, 1619. And he had gone on with his lesser 
duties, such as keeping an eye on All Souls College, Oxford. 
"I do require you, Mr. Warden, and the rest of the 
officers/' he wrote, "severally to punish such as in your 
society are neglecting their studies to spend their time 
abroad in taverns and ale houses to the defamation of 
scholars and scandal of your house, and not to impart any 
common favors unto them unless they thoroughly reform 

themselves/' In those lax days the maligned, serious arch- 
bishop could seem a nuisance to roistering youth. 

For his home town of Guildford, Abbot had founded 
and endowed a sort of rest home. In it he reserved rooms 
for his own use. Much later John Evelyn in his diary 
wrote of a visit to this hospice. Abbot, of course, was now 
getting richer and grander in his own eyes. Two of his 
brothers, one a member of the East India Company and 
of the Council of New England, the other about to be- 
come Bishop of Salisbury, prospered along with him. 
The archbishop was at the height of a career which the 
seeress had promised his mother would come of her 
eating a young pike. 

At midsummer, 1621, Edward Zouche, eleventh baron 
of that name and Warden of the Cinque Ports, a high 
office in the state, invited the primate to his great, formal 
house and spreading park at Bramshill in Hampshire. 
On July 24, not the Sabbath but a Tuesday, Lord Zouche 
and his party went deer hunting. The stout, stuffy arch- 
bishop wanted to be manful with the bow and arrow, 
but was a poor shot. Time after time he warned the men 
who were beating up the game to keep back a goodly 
distance. Eager to please His Grace by chasing at least 
one deer within bow cast of him, they were reckless. A 
buck came into sight. Abbot twanged his bow. His arrow 
and arrows in those days were sharp, deadly weapons 
hit one of the keepers in the arm. Blood gushed out 
and before long poor Peter Harkins had bled to death. 
Thus George Abbot became the only translator of the 
1611 Bible and the only Archbishop of Canterbury ever 
to kill a human being. 

Abbot was in an abyss of grief, stabbed with the sternest 
feelings of guilt. At once he retired to his new hospice at 
Guildford. On the widow he settled twenty pounds a 
year, which gave her the means to shorten her mourning 
and quickly get a second husband. The Church and the 

court seethed with dismay and censure. What right had 
the primate of the English Church to go hunting? 

No canon in the English Church forbade a bishop's 
taking part in field sports. Indeed, so to take part was a 
portion of the Episcopal right. Queen Elizabeth's Arch- 
bishop Whitgift had once killed twenty bucks. The Bible 
said nothing about stag hunting. King James had charged 
Abbot that he should carry his house nobly and live like 
an archbishop, which the prelate had promised him to do. 

The case was one for church decision, and a group in- 
cluding Bishop Lancelot Andrewes met for long search- 
ing and debate. It even referred the matter on the side 
to the Sorbonne at Paris. Had Abbot become "irregular" 
and "incapable by common law of discharging his duties"? 

Meanwhile friends of Abbot were cool to him, and foes 
cast slurs at him when he dared to preach in the country. 
Yet in September he went briefly to the court again, 
where the king put himself out to be kind. Lancelot 
Andrewes quibbled and wavered as he sought to placate 
all, and the judgment when reached was rather vague, 
but in sum absolved Abbot, with Andrewes more or less 
for him. The Sorbonne seemed, in the main, against him. 
On December 24 the king deemed it best to proclaim a 
formal pardon. By law the primate's private estate was 
forfeit to the Crown. But James said: "An angel might 
have miscarried in this sort. . . . The king would not 
add affliction to his sorrow or take one farthing from his 
chattels and movables/' 

Though thus affirmed in his office, Abbot found the 
respect of many people waning. He could do nothing 
to allay a persistent feeling that a primate who killed a 
man was less holy than he should be. His high power, which 
he was still keen to assert, subtly lessened. The rest of his 
long service teemed with his crotchets, his temper, his 
rather futile judgments, and the efforts of high churchmen 
to subdue him. Laud, now a bishop, he rightly thought 

I* 5*1 

one o his chief stumbling blocks, though for the present 
Laud knew how to avoid too blatant outbursts. 

Sir Henry Savile, the most handsome of the translators, 
died at Eton on February 19, 1622. They buried him by 
torchlight to save expense, though he left two hundred 
pounds for the rites. The useful Miles Smith, Bishop of 
Gloucester, died October 20, 1624, after forlorn last years 
of conformity to practices he disliked. 

On February 14, 1625, was buried at Wilden, Bedford- 
shire, Francis Dillingham, the bachelor translator who 
knew how a man could be happy though married by 
keeping his wife subject to him. The translator Dr. 
John Richardson, Master of Peterhouse, died April 20, 
1626, leaving one hundred pounds to build a brick wall 
in front of the college next to the street. That same year 
the translator Robert Spalding slept with his fathers. 
Most accounts of the lives of all these men marked the 
fact that they had helped translate the King James Bible. 
For that work their own world rightly honored them as 
true scholars of the first rank. 

Amid the deaths and honors the king had been ever 
intent on money. "My lords/' he had said in 1619 to two 
bishops, Neale of Durham and Andrewes of Winchester, 
"cannot I take my subjects' money when I want it with- 
out all this formality in parliament?" The two bishops 
were standing behind his chair at dinner. Neale said, 
"You should; you are the breath of our nostrils." Lancelot 
Andrewes said that he had "no skill in parliamentary 
cases," but, "I think it lawful for you to take my brother 
Neale's money, because he offers it/' The king's concern 
for money was always grasping. As his reign lengthened 
the nation endured him without conceiving that there 
might be worse to come. 

The profound event of 1625 was the death of King 
James on March 27, after ten days of illness. Four days 
before the end he, or perhaps those around him, sent 

for Archbishop Abbot, who gave the dying man extreme 
unction after the way of the English Church. Someone 
else conducted the final service to bury the wise old fool. 

The coming of Charles I to the throne increased the 
partial eclipse of Abbot. Laud, called in from St. David's, 
Wales, where he was bishop, and before long made Bishop 
of London, was moving steadily upward. The marriage of 
the new king to Henrietta Maria of France was by proxy. 
The crowning, court and Church said, had to be on a 
holy feast day. This one they at length set for Candlemas, 
the purification day of St. Mary the Virgin, February 2, 
1626, nearly a year after the death of James. 

Having long suffered from gout, the stone, and gravel, 
all no doubt due in part to high living, Abbot aroused 
himself. Four new bishops had refused with good con- 
science to have him install them. He was a tainted primate. 
Yet before the great day he, with others, revised the order 
for the supreme pageant of coronation. The plague had 
once more been rife. By royal command, Archbishop 
Abbot, Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, and others consulted 
on a form of thanks to God that the plague was getting 
less. On the splendid day itself, Abbot was later to com- 
plain and boast, the archbishop "had work enough for 
the strongest man in England." That was true, as we 
know from the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II. 

The drama was much the same then as now. There 
were exact plans for the crowning of Queen Henrietta 
Maria, too, with a chair or throne set out for her. Queen 
Anne before her had refused to take the oath in the 
Church of England, but was present in silence through- 
out the ordeal. Now Henrietta Maria, with papist firm- 
ness, stayed away but watched the whole pomp from a 
vantage point built for her. As the hours went by, other 
observers saw with horror the queen's ladies dancing and 
frisking; Stuart youth was sportive and Charles was only 

On the morning of February 2, the monarch of all he 
surveyed went to Westminster Abbey by water. Abbot and 
the others had, of course, received the order of the day in 
advance and knew just what to do. The almost Puritan 
archbishop, in a cope of gold brocade which must have 
weighed down his shoulders and perhaps his conscience, 
too, spoke to the people in due form. Then he received 
the king at the altar which bore a High Church cross. 
There were the traditional questions to the king and the 
king's formal answers. Then the archbishop had to anoint 
the royal body. He took the jeweled crown of King Ed- 
ward in his hands, laid it before the king on the altar, and 
offered the prayer. He put the ring on the fourth finger of 
the king's right hand, gave him the scepter and the rod, 
and enthroned him. 

Bending his gouty joints and kneeling, he declared, "I, 
George Abbot, shall be faithful." The Scripture reading, 
still from some older Bible, was I Peter 2:11-13: "Dearly 
beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims to abstain 
from fleshly lusts, which fight against the soul, and see 
that you have honest conversation among the Gentiles, 
that whereas they backbite you as evil doers, they may 
see your good works and praise God in the day of visita- 
tion." Those pointed verses must have sounded like Puri- 
tan warnings, for in the months before the crowning, 
religious strife had been waxing more acrid. 

Now the archbishop gave the king Holy Communion. 
Charles sat down in King Edward's chair. The archbishop 
lifted the heavy crown and put it on the king's head, say- 
ing, "God crown thee with a crown of glory and righteous- 
ness." The lords and ladies donned their coronets. It was 

The whole display of regal gleaming was much longer 
than this brief account implies. Abbot, the only one of 
the Bible translators who crowned a king of England, 
went through it all well. It was, as always, a brilliant, awe- 

some scene. The robes had plenty o crimson and purple. 
The young king was a fresh hope for the people. Or was 
he? Archbishop Abbot seemed to submerge any hope he 
may have had in his wonted sad sourness. Yet as he ached 
and glowered, he was oddly more vital than the show 
around him, because he knew that the word of our God 
shall stand forever. 

Then the bells pealed and the people shouted, the 
horses pranced and the royal coach rolled along with the 
king being gracious. Thus with an archbishop who favored 
the Puritans and bishops who were of the High Church, 
began a reign which was to be one of ever-raging conflicts 
and to have a brutal, lurid end on the scaffold. 

Slowly thereafter Abbot sank out of general view. Some- 
times others carried him into the House of Lords, where 
he spoke from a chair. In the House of Commons his 
friend Sir Dudley Digges, whom he had tutored at Univer- 
sity College, Oxford, and others looked upon him as a 
bulwark against Bishop William Laud, recognized as an 
enemy, and also against George Villiers, Duke of Buck- 
ingham, whose rise he had at first mistakenly supported. 
Now against the dangerous favorite Abbot wrote a long 
defense of himself: "The duke of Buckingham (being 
still great in the favor of the king, could endure no man 
that would not depend upon him) among others had me 
in his eye, for not stooping unto him, so as to become his 
vassal." From an old Bible he quoted Psalm 112:7: "He 
shall not be afraid of any evil tidings, for his heart standeth 
fast, and believe th in the Lord." Thus fifteen years after 
he finished work on the 1611 Bible he refrained from 
citing it. 

In 1657 he had so far fallen from the king's good will 
that they tried to relieve him of his duties and take away 
his office. He had bitter words for those who thus attacked 
him. "In the courts of princes there is little feeling for 
the infirmities belonging to old age. They like them that 


be young, and gallant in their actions, and in their clothes. 
They love not that any man should stick too long in any 
room of greatness." No translator of the 1611 Bible, and 
least of all George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
should have had to say that. Of himself he said: "I can- 
not deny that the indisposition of my body kept me from 
court and therefore gave occasion to maligners to traduce 
me/ 7 At last they set him apart, "sequestered" him. Wil- 
liam Laud, Bishop of London, assumed many of the pre- 
late's tasks. For him and his almost papist stand Charles 
had taken a strong liking. 

In the meantime even gracious, smiling Bishop Lance- 
lot Andrewes of Winchester had died, September 26, 1626. 
John Milton, aged seventeen, at once wrote a stiff Latin 
paean at Christ's College, Cambridge. As Andrewes en- 
tered heaven, "Each angel saluted his new comrade with 
embrace and song, and from the placid lips of One came 
these words: 'Come, son, enjoy the gladness of thy Father's 
realm; rest henceforth from thy hard labors/ As He spoke, 
the winged choirs touched their psalteries." Later Milton 
was to write against this same gentle bishop in the old 
dispute over episcopal power in the Church. 

While Laud enlarged his scope, the Puritans fought 
their way forward. The 1611 Bible by its own worth was 
making itself welcome throughout the country, for those 
on both sides needed the best modern texts with which 
to fight their doctrinal skirmishes. High churchmen in 
greater numbers began to use the 1611 version, which in 
centuries to come would be the sole bond uniting the 
countless English-speaking Protestant sects. 

In 1629 the Bible was again revised, but only in small 
ways, and once more in minor respects in 1638. The last 
issue of the Geneva Bible was in 1644. By then the King 
James version was ahead of all others, and now the strife 
over forms and doctrine helped it on. 

"The gospel," Puritan Sir John Eliot had burst forth 

in the House of Commons, "is that truth in which his 
kingdom has been happy. . . . That truth, not with words 
but with actions, we will maintain/' In their worst hours 
the Puritans "turned to the new world to redress the 
balance of the old." Many of them now founded Boston, 
where they used the Bible as a book of ground rules. 

The learned men had all come of age before 1604, and 
so were to die before most of their Plymouth brethren 
and the Puritans in America. Andrew Downes had died 
in 1628, still full of rancor against his former pupil and 
colleague in the Bible work, John Bois. Jeffrey King, the 
translator who had held the royal chair of Hebrew at Ox- 
ford, died in 1630. Other translators who soon died were 
Roger Andrewes, Master of Jesus College, who had made 
his progress through the help of his brother Lancelot, and 
Thomas Harrison, Puritan, who had been vice-prefect 
of Trinity College, Cambridge. Leonard Hutton died 
May 17, 1732, aged seventy-five, and went to his last rest 
in Christ Church. 

While "sequestered" in 1627, Archbishop Abbot was 
still fasting each Tuesday in sorrow for his killing of the 
gamekeeper years before. He had days of being better and 
days of being worse, but his power in Church and state 
was about gone. At last Abbot died at Croydon, August 4, 
1633, aged seventy-one. He had served twenty-one years, 
three times as long as Bancroft. In after years his oppo- 
nents would say that his service was "fatal" to the Church 
of England, a statement hardly exact, since the Church 
of England remains lively. Unknowingly kindling the 
flames of conflict which at length broke out in the great 
revolt, Abbot deemed Christian only that which abhorred 
and reviled papal forms. On the whole he valued men in 
accordance with their zeal for antipopery. His house was 
an isle of safety for the foremost in the factious party of 
the Church, whose writings he licensed, and he relaxed 
penal laws against them. Thus he gave courage to future 


rebels who were, years after, to get rid of both Laud and 
King Charles. At the bottom of his heart Abbot was far 
more a Bible scholar than a churchman. Of the translators, 
he played by far the most influential role in the troublous 
times after 1611, and his bias led in the end toward a 
revolution bound to come. We must give stolid George 
Abbot his due. 

To succeed him, King Charles of course chose William 
Laud, Bishop of London. The new archbishop set to work 
putting back the emblems of the High Church. Laud had 
resolved to raise the Church of England as a branch, 
though a reformed branch, of the Church of Rome, which 
was thriving elsewhere. First he determined to sever such 
ties as had joined his church to the reformed churches 
of Europe. With his power as archbishop he withdrew 
freedom of worship from, those of France and Flanders 
who had sought refuge in England, until crowds of them 
sailed from southern ports to Holland. He and his fol- 
lowers even forbade British soldiers and merchants abroad 
to attend churches which adhered to the teachings of 
Calvin. Passive support of the Crown, in the Church as 
elsewhere, was to take the place of gospel preaching. 

For more of the learned men, death shortened the 
strain of troublous times. Richard Brett died April 15, 
1637, aged seventy. His stone at Quanton, Buckingham- 
shire, shows him, his widow and his four daughters, all 

Now only four of the learned men were still living. Of 
these, one had been the youngest Samuel Ward, Puritan, 
Warden of Sidney-Sussex College, who as a poor student 
had condemned himself for eating too many damson plums 
and too much cheese. 

Another was Laurence Chaderton, one of the four 
Puritans at the Hampton Court parley. A fine old fellow 
with a head of gray hair, he could read without glasses 
when he was over a hundred. Even then he never said a 

thing twice as he conversed or told his harmless stories. 
His wife had died after they had been married fifty-five 
years, and his daughter had taken care of him. He died 
November 13, 1640, aged one hundred and three. Longer 
than the rest, he escaped that haunting last chapter of 
Ecclesiastes which he helped translate. 

When Chaderton and Ward were gone, there were two 
left. Of these, one was John Bois. Careful in all matters, 
as with words, he had told four bishops of Ely that his 
scruples would not let him baptize a stray child that was 
too old to be an infant, and too young to profess any 
faith. In his old age he could recall details of what he 
had known, felt, and done, and had all his wits about 
him. His sight was quick, his hearing acute, his face fresh, 
and his skin like parchment without wrinkles. He told his 
children and others that if at any time he expressed any 
thought which savored of bad temper, they should tell 
him of it. The day before he died he asked that those 
around him move him to the room where his wife had 
expired his dear, adverse, spendthrift wife, who had 
made him almost bankrupt. He died January 14, 1643, 
aged eighty-three. 

So at last we come to the sole translator who, after 
Laud and Charles I had laid their perverse heads on the 
executioner's block, lived on into the rule of Cromwell. 
The tall, smiling Bing, who for forty-six years had been 
subdean at York, died at Winterton in Norfolk in March, 
1652, aged seventy-eight. With Edward Lively's group, 
which contained among others Dillingham and Chader- 
ton, he had helped revise the Old Testament books from 
I Chronicles through Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Eccle- 
siastes, and the Song of Songs. Who knows, perhaps he 
gave us "If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art 
there/' and "Many waters cannot quench love/' 


The ^Bible of the 

Learned o^l/Ien Lasts 

Can a committee produce a work o art? Many would 
say no, yet we have seen that this large group of the king's 
translators, almost threescore of them, together gave the 
world a work greater not only in scope but in excellence 
than any could have done singly. How did this come to 
be? How explain that sixty or more men, none a genius, 
none even as great a writer as Marlowe or Ben Jonson, 
together produced writing to be compared with (and con- 
fused with) the words of Shakespeare? 

Group writing of various kinds has long been useful 
or profitable. Encyclopedists have contributed vastly to 
education, even to political progress. We have had suc- 
cessful works of pooled information, such as the guide- 
books compiled by the WPA writers in the depression 
years. Popular movies and mysteries are written by writing 
"teams/' The daily newspaper is an example of collective 
effort by scores of anonymous writers. But art is different. 
Art is individual. It may be of use, yet its quality tran- 
scends the use of one generation and becomes timeless. 

If hard work alone were the secret of success, we would 
have the answer, for we know that the learned men worked 
hard. Many of them labored like monks in rooms so cold 
and damp, except close to the fires, that fingers and joints 
got stiff even though they swathed themselves in their 

thick gowns. They worked at odd hours, early in the 
mornings and late at night, as other duties permitted. 
They endured rigors that we would think beyond us. 

But hard work alone, singly or in groups, does not 
insure a great result. Were the learned men saints, under 
direct inspiration? 

As we have seen, these men who made the translation 
for King James were subject to like passions as we are. 
Even as they gave themselves to the great work, they 
yielded also to petty vanities and ambition and prejudice, 
and though they put into words certain counsels of perfec- 
tion we have yet to attain, they behaved in their own 
century by a code we have outgrown. If in general we of 
the present day lack their piety, we do not condone their 
persecutions or even their fierce doctrinal hatreds. Yet 
we must credit them with their temporary alliance for the 
work in hand. Besides enduring hardships, the learned 
men endured each other. Their zeal for the great under- 
taking survived their own wrangles over doctrine and 
their differences of opinion in personal matters. The quar- 
rels that are recorded were over such differences rather 
than the work in hand. There they must have learned 
to rise above themselves for the good of the whole, an 
act of grace deserving of reward. But does even this 
account for the result? 

To know that the Bible words were beyond the choosing 
of the best of them, we have only to look at their indi- 
vidual writing. And this writing of theirs in books or 
sermons or attempted poetry also answers the suggestion 
that their work on the Bible was great because they lived 
in a great age. It was an age of great writing, in which 
poets and dramatists flourished, yet these men as indi- 
viduals lacked the skills of those who made the Mermaid 
Tavern and the Globe Theater live in literature. In vain 
do we look to the eloquent Lancelot Andrewes or even 
to Miles Smith for the dulcet temper and torrents of 


sound In concord that mark the religious prose of Sir 
Thomas Browne, or for the dooming ire, like a knell, of 
Dr. John Donne. At the same time their Bible surpassed 
others in an excellence not to be attributed wholly to 
the original writers in the ancient tongues, so that Lytton 
Strachey could say of the prophets, "Isaiah and Jeremiah 
had the extraordinary good fortune to be translated into 
English by a committee of Elizabethan bishops. " Badly 
as some of the committee could write on other occasions, 
not only was theirs the best of the English Bibles; there is, 
in no modern language, a Bible worthy to be compared 
with it as literature. 

Though such verse as we have of their own lacks value 
for us, they were poets who fashioned prose without 
knowing how expert they were. Their meters were be- 
yond our common attempts at scansion, but no more so 
than those of Donne and Blake, who are among the great 
English poets. Instead of rigid feet with accents, they 
relied on more adroit pulses, which had come to abound 
in their age of magic. Keats, silent on a peak as he mar- 
veled at Chapman's Homer, might have marveled still 
more if he had much traveled through the realms of gold 
in the King James Bible. Chapman's Homer of those 
same years no longer has the power to dazzle us, while 
the Bible's power has shown increase. At Oxford and 
Cambridge the learned men breathed the air of noble 
language, amid brilliant buildings and gardens which 
could excite them to lofty efforts, in a domain that seemed 
timeless. And they produced a timeless book. 

Are we to say that God walked with them in their 
gardens? Insofar as they believed in their own calling 
and election, they must have believed that they would 
have God's help in their task. We marvel that they could 
both submerge themselves and assert themselves, could 
meekly agree yet firmly declare, and hold to the words 
they preferred as just and fitting. At the same time they 

[x6 9 ] 

could write and they could listen, speak clearly, and 
hearken to the sounds they tested, as well as to the voice 
of what they deemed the divine Author. And that must 
have been the secret of their grace and their assurance: 
they agreed, not with other men like themselves, but with 
God as their guide, and they followed not as thinking 
themselves righteous but as led by a righteousness beyond 
them. They knew that human beings are but worms, but 
that man when he is good and docile may mount up with 
wings as eagles, to be the child of God. 

So they put down what they had to put down; their 
writing flows with a sense of must. Some of it they took 
wholly from former works, yet the must extends to what 
the 1611 scholars had the wisdom to adopt and, as it were, 
to inlay in the rest. A good deal of Shakespeare consists 
of such inlays which he made his own. 

If the marvel of what they did exceeds even the marvel 
of Shakespeare, it is because their aim was greater, no less 
indeed than the salvation of their world. They were, we 
must remember, not writing for themselves. Their qualifi- 
cation for the work was that they could speak with tongues, 
could converse and say their prayers in the ancient lan- 
guages. They were writing a Bible to help the people, 
for those who knew little Latin and less Greek or Hebrew. 
As churchmen they were in fact working against the rule 
of the Church, for reading Scripture would in the long 
run make men think for themselves and rise in protest. 
This John Rainolds the Puritan had seen some thirty 
years before he proposed a new Bible. Among six con- 
clusions which he "propounded, expounded and defended 
in publick disputation" at Oxford in 1579 was a state- 
ment that "The Authoritie of the Holy Scripture is 
Greater Than the Authoritie of the Church." In doggerel 
which began with Moses and the prophets and continued 
through mention of the Gospels and Epistles, Rainolds 


And these books hath the holy Ghost set sooth 

for mortal wightes 
That we in counte of faith and light might follow 

them as lights. 
Avant all ye, who braine-sicke toyes and fancies 

vain defend: 

Who on humane traditions and Fathers favors depend. 
The holy written Word of God doth show the perfect way 
Whereby from death to life arise, from curse to 

bliss we may. 

Yet if the learned men risked their churchly powers 
when they worked to write the vision and make it plain 
upon tables, that they who run might read, in return the 
work would raise them out of time limitations into future 
ages. As they went beyond time by seeking eternal right- 
wiseness for all, they also escaped time in the human sense; 
they were, as nearly as they could be, of the people of their 
own time, and yet they are also of our time, since they 
speak to us. 

If now we try to define all the reasons why their work 
has lasted, we are sure to leave out many while giving too 
much weight to others. Parts of the Bible for which we 
have the utmost liking will seem to us apt and well- 
chosen without our knowing what choices the learned 
men had, or what the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures 
sought to convey. Because we have made ourselves at one 
with them, they confirm to us just what we ourselves 
think. This is true even of the odd sayings which we 
could never have devised, but which we have always 

And indeed the 1611 rhythms have been potent to 
affect writing, speaking, and thinking ever since the 
learned men produced them. When Thomas Hardy sug- 
gested that the translators were made poets by the lapse 
of time, he overlooked this continuing influence, and 
certainly he cannot have read their other, unpoetic writ- 

ing of the same period. The King James men not only 
gave us truths, and errors, which have inspired us through 
the ages, but had an aptness of manner with beauty as 
they ordered the words, and the sounds within the words, 
in a wondrous divine progress. They knew how to make 
the Bible scare the wits out of you and then calm you, 
all in English as superb as the Hebrew and the Greek. 
They could make their phrasing proceed as though caused 
by the First Cause, without shadow of turning; they could 
make the stately language of threat and wrath or the 
promises of tender mercy come word for word from God 
Himself, from the Hebrew Yahweh and from the Chris- 
tian Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. "Woe unto you that 
desire the day of the Lord! Let judgment run down as 
waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." And later 
they could say to us, "Be perfect, be of good comfort, be 
of one mind, live in peace: and the God of love and peace 
shall be with you/* As we read we feel the divine power 
of judgment, and then this love and peace, this good com- 
fort, this oneness of mind. The very word structure has 
the power to impress us, to arouse and quiet us, to confirm 
in us a basic sureness. 

Soul and body, the work of the learned men still moves 
the world because they wrought inside each sentence a 
certain balance of letter and spirit. If other versions have 
their day and pass, it is because this balance is somehow 
marred, even though strict verbal accuracy may be with 
them. Thus to read ''The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ 
be with you all" is for most of us a happy end, while the 
present-day scholar who says "The grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ be with the saints" leaves us out because most 
of us in the present spurn sainthood as we understand the 
word. The work of the King James men is somehow more 
immediate and lively, even literally lively, as when the 
1611 Bible tells us in I Peter that the redeemed shall be 
"lively stones." 


Though we may challenge the Idea of word-by-word 
inspiration, we surely must conclude that these were men 
able, in their profound moods, to transcend their human 
limits. In their own words, they spake as no other men 
spake because they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Or, 
in the clumsier language of our time, they so adjusted 
themselves to each other and to the work as to achieve 
a unique coordination and balance, functioning there- 
after as an organic entity no mere mechanism equal to 
the sum of its parts, but a whole greater than all of them. 

Miles Smith in his preface bears out this idea that the 
work carried them above themselves. "The Scripture . . . 
is not an herb but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of 
trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the 
fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine . . . 
And what marvel? The original thereof being from 
heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; 
the inditer, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles 
or prophets/' Here we have an echo of Sir Henry Savile's 
distrust of wit as such, when the need is for better under- 
standing. "But how shall men . . . understand that which 
is kept close in an unknown tongue? As it is written, 
Except I know the power of the voice, 1 I shall be to him 
that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be 
a barbarian to me/' 

"Translation it is," Smith continued, "that openeth the 
window, let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we 
may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we 
may look into the most holy place; that removeth the 
cover of the well, that we may come by the water." Many 
other translators, such as Lancelot Andrewes, liked such 
figures. "While the dew lay on Gideon's fleece only, and 
all the earth besides was dry; then for one and the same 
people, which spake all of them the language of Canaan, 

1 In the King James version this is, "If I know not the meaning of the 

that is, Hebrew, one and the same original in Hebrew 
was sufficient/' 

Now Smith vented some modest boasting. "After the 
endeavors of them that were before us, we take the best 
pains we can in the house of God. . . . Truly (good 
Christian reader) we never thought from the beginning, 
that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet 
to make of a bad one a good one . . . but to make a good 
one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good 
one ... To this purpose there were many chosen, that 
were greater in other men's eyes than in their own, and 
that sought the truth rather than their own praise . . . 
They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening 
and no man shutting." 

So, "in the confidence and with this devotion did they 
assemble together; not too many, lest one should trouble 
another; and yet many, lest many things haply might es- 
cape them. If you ask what they had before them, truly 
it was the Hebrew text of the old testament, the Greek 
of the new," which Smith compared to the two gold 
pipes of Revelation. They also had many Bibles in many 
tongues, and many books about the Bible. 

The Septuagint, Smith said in passing, had reportedly 
taken the Greeks seventy-two days. Of the King James 
Bible he said, "The work hath not been huddled up in 
72 days, but hath cost the workmen, as light as it seemeth, 
the pains of twice seven times seventy two days and more." 
Some who take this to mean 1,008 days ignore Smith's 
"and more." The work seems to have run from late 1604 
through 1610, about six years. 

"Neither did we disdain," Smith declared, "to revise 
that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil 
that which we had hammered: but having and using as 
great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for 
slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at 


the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, 
brought the work to the pass that you see. 

"We have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phras- 
ing, or to an identity of words, as some peradventure 
would wish that we had done. . . For is the kingdom 
of God become words and syllables? . . . Niceness in 
words was always counted the next step to trifling/' Yet 
we have seen the niceness with which Smith and Bilson 
straightened out what Bois and his comrades offered. "We 
desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the 
language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the 
very vulgar." 

Understanding the importance o the task of transla- 
tion, Smith also gave generous praise to those who had 
gone before. His preface contains a long passage about the 
translation from Hebrew into Greek, ordered by Ptolemy 
Philadelphus, king of Egypt: "This is the translation of 
the Seventy Interpreters, so called, which prepared the 
way for our Savior among the Gentiles by written preach- 
ing, as St. John the Baptist did among the Greeks by 
vocal." Smith so well regarded this work that he thought 
the Seventy should be considered "not only for Inter- 
preters but also for Prophets in some respect. . . . Yet 
for all that, as the Egyptians are said of the Prophets to 
be men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit, 
so it is evident . . . that the Seventy were Interpreters, 
not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men; 
but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one while through 
oversight, another while through ignorance; yea, some- 
times they might be noted to add to the original, and 
sometimes to take from it." 

As Smith said of the seventy, so we are still saying of 
the fifty-odd learned men, and again it is difficult to say 
where a line Is to be drawn between interpretation and 
prophecy; for such is the communion of saints, and the 

importance of the Word that was God. This may be the 
secret of our later learned men or even of the seventy be- 
fore them, for as Smith describes the work: "And in what 
sort did these assemble? In the trust of their own knowl- 
edge, or of their sharpness of it, or deepness of judgment, 
as it were in an arm. of flesh? At no hand. They trusted in 
him that hath the key of David, opening and no man 
shutting; they prayed to the Lord. . . ." 

And so perhaps each learned man felt guided from on 
high, and respected, while the work lasted, one another's 
guiding Spirit. This we cannot know, save by the results; 
but Smith at least was willing to credit his predecessors 
in translation with some such endowment. Acknowledging 
as he did in his Preface a debt to the Seventy Translators 
of Alexandria, Miles Smith made it clear that, although 
he and his fellow translators for the king approached their 
work with fresh energy and a resolve to make new all that 
should be new, they were nevertheless carrying out an an- 
cient task. However directly they might feel and acknowl- 
edge divine guidance, they were part of a human chain 
comparable to the 'line of the prophets" a line of in- 
terpreters maintaining the Word. Bearing its own stamp, 
their writing would yet be derived from and dependent on 
the work of others. 

Chief of the sources to which they were indebted would 
be that translation begun by the man who prayed, from the 
flames at Brussels, that God would open the king of Eng- 
land's eyes. Tyndale had given his life for the English 
Bible, and had he done no more than supply the idea and 
make an effort at translation, he must still be accounted 
a pioneer of the printed Scripture. But he did more. By 
the royal directive which said the new Bible should be 
based upon the Bishops' Bible, King James actually per- 
petuated the work of that dangerous innovator who first 
planned a Bible in English print. For the Bishops' Bible 
traced its descent through the Matthew and the Coverdale 


versions straight back to Tyndale, only a Tyndale with 
some alterations, a royal dedication and the episcopal 
blessing. Disappointed in his hope to work under the 
patronage of the Bishop of London, driven indeed to bitter 
realization that not only was there "no room in my lord of 
London's palace to translate the New Testament, but also 
that there was no place to do it in all England/' Tyndale 
the exiled heretic had obviously contributed to the transla- 
tion that bishops in time approved and the king authorized 
to be read in churches. And now King James had com- 
manded the use of as much of this work as should stand 
up under review by the learned men. Thus the martyr's 
prayer had an answer; a king's eyes were somewhat opened 
and a royal order cleared the way for the English people 
to have what Tyndale planned for them. 

The year 1611 was too soon, perhaps, to call attention 
to this, but later commentators would weigh words and 
give Tyndale credit for much of the very phrasing of the 
New Testament. Word counts which estimate the debt to 
Tyndale in high percentages may be somewhat misleading 
in that the distinctive style of the King James version so de- 
pends upon the order of the words. Yet it does appear that 
after the best efforts of all the learned men, the final editing 
approved many of Tyndale's readings. Miles Smith must 
have known this and perhaps considered it too obvious to 
require comment. Indeed a criticism common to Tyndale's 
translation and to Smith's own style in his Preface is a 
certain "roughness" or crudeness which, in other estimates, 
is seen to be simplicity and strength. Both men liked to 
use the short English words. This preference for simple, 
familiar language may be one mark of the true inter- 

Believing then as Christians must in the continuity of 
human effort, we can, while we marvel at agreement of the 
King James men among themselves, see them also as carry- 
ing on with understanding and sympathy the work of those 


who went before. The spirit of Tyndale, perhaps even of 
the more shadowy Wycliffe, must have been felt at Hamp- 
ton Court and Stationers Hall and in the printshop under 
the Tiger's Head. "We are so far off from condemning any 
of their labors that travaileth before us in this kind, either 
in the land or beyond sea, either in King Henry's time, 
or King Edward's ... or Queen Elizabeth's of ever re- 
nowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been 
raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his 
Church; and that they deserve to be had of us and of 
posterity in everlasting remembrance/' 

Such remembrance the King James men themselves 
have had, and have. In his introduction to a reprint of 
the Miles Smith preface, Edgar J. Goodspeed, himself an 
authority in the field of modern translation, says, "Of 
all the forms of the English Bible, the most distinguished 
and widely cherished is the King James Version/' and 
adds that it is ' 'predominantly the Bible of the layman, 
and it will undoubtedly continue to be so for a long time 
to come/' Laymen indeed who make indiscriminate trials 
of the modern versions are likely to miss the familiar 
cadences, and to be put off by such brisk phrases as "no 
more delay" where eye and ear expect "time no longer/' 
Perhaps the truth is that though we may turn to a modern 
translation if, unversed in ancient tongues, we want the 
exact meaning of a phrase, we do not feel in this reading 
the spiritual overtones that come through the older 
English words. Perhaps, when we read Scripture, we do 
not want the tempo of our own times. As an example of 
what a temporal translation can do, consider the work of 
a Dr. Harwood who in 1768 tried making the Bible over 
into the polite English of his era. For Matthew 14:6, "The 
daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased 
Herod/' Dr. Harwood gave, "The daughter of Herodias, 
a young lady who danced with inimitable grace and 

In a few centuries more, will the vision which made 
the King James rhythms perish from the earth? But what 
the people accept as vision becomes vision indeed. 
Granted, even the idea of God can change, has changed, 
and is changing. But if God today is an essence such as 
Alfred North Whitehead has tried to explain, it is yet 
clear that this Wisdom and Spirit, this basic life force, 
has used the King James Bible through an immense 
amount of living, with more to come. 

When the modern translations removed the old familiar 
est and eth endings of verbs, they thought to make the 
Bible less prosy; but for many it has the opposite effect. 
So also to take out the "begats" seems timid and prissy, 
and the same is true of words deemed obscene, as in I 
Kings 16:11 and II Kings 18:27. The Hebrew words mean 
just what the King James men made them mean, what 
soldiers mean today. A masterpiece may use what words 
it pleases, and the work of the 1611 translators lasts partly 
because they were fearless and called a spade a spade. 

But the lasting glory of the King James version is such 
that it is unnecessary to pick flaws in later attempts. It is our 
good fortune that we can have the modern versions while 
we keep the old Bible too. The omens are good for the 
work of those devout artists, the King James men, to out- 
weigh the more prosaic or streamlined sequents. Modern 
shortcomings need not deprive or embarrass us, for inepti- 
tudes are not new, and legions of professed poets have 
rendered parts of the Bible in ways so banal as to be gro- 
tesque. De Quincey shuddered at the thought of the Holy 
Scriptures as the age of Pope might have rendered them. 
Among the worst of poets, when he dealt with the Bible 
words, was John Milton. In the King James version, 
Psalm i : i reads "Blessed is the man that walketh not in 
the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of 
sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." Milton 
in 1653 made this: 

Blest is the man who hath not walked astray 
In counsel of the wicked, and in the way 
Of sinners hath not stood, and in the seat 
Of scorners hath not sat. 

No wonder that the King James verse lives, while Milton's 
verse, for most o us, has long since died. 

The author o The Seasons in his time had more repute 
as a poet than the King James men had in their time. Yet 
here Is what James Thomson did to Matthew 6:28, 29: 
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the 
lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do 
they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in 
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these/' Now 
Thomson: 2 

Observe the rising lily's snowy grace, 

Observe the various vegetable race; 

They neither toil nor spin, but careless grow; 

Yet see how warm they blush! how bright they glow! 

What regal vestments can with them compare, 

What king so shining, and what queen so fair? 

We can appraise how good the 1611 Bible is by sounding 
such depths of badness. The King James version has en- 
dured partly because its translators had ears to hear when 
the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God 
shouted for joy. 

The learned men did misread some words and phrases. 
Having to denote and connote at the same time, like all 
other writers, they sometimes missed their marks. They 
had fewer tools of Biblical scholarship than we have today, 
and some they had were of inferior quality. Yet many have 
treasured as beauty what are no doubt mistakes in phras- 
ing. Does that matter much? There were varied and faulty 
readings in the oldest texts; many of them still remain 
and always will. Though modern scholars desire to pre- 

2 Paraphrase on the Latter Part of the Sixth Chapter of St. Matthew. 


sent a truer translation, their success is limited and rela- 
tive; they can at best only approach truth. 

If the strange doings, the wisdom and the advice, the 
maxims, the divine rages and the promised rewards of the 
King James version excite and bother us, no doubt the 
English Bible has lasted partly because it has bothered 
us, and those scholars who try to take the bother out make 
it too common. Like a mountain, the King James Bible 
gives us much to do if we are to learn much of it, and like 
fire in the air it plays for us with changing lights. When 
all is said and done, we have lived too long with the land, 
air, and water of 1611, with its people, their concepts and 
actions, to change with ease. When a true masterpiece is 
done, it stays done, it lives alone. 

Can we then ever define just what the beauty of the 
King James Bible is, just what has made us love it? Mil- 
lions of sermons, those that lasted hours, and the neat 
little ones of about fifteen minutes today, have made of 
the Bible, and the 1611 Bible above all, what they pleased. 
Millions of people have put themselves to it to explain 
it, sometimes with rash valor to explain away parts of it. 
And though it has given to millions the words of life to 
live by, people have got from it quips and cranks and 
wanton wiles as well as the deep things of God. They have 
found blessings in the very conflicts which it allows its 

Indeed, one reason the King James Bible lasts is that 
it gives us freedom to differ, affording us counterthoughts 
to rub against each other. Thus though the new transla- 
tion captured readers slowly, in the long run it appealed 
to High Church, Low Church, and chapel alike. Though 
it was never merely a Puritan work, Cromwell and his 
fellow Roundheads pushed it forward. George Fox, 
Milton, Bunyan, and Defoe used it. Boswell quoted it 
roughly. In early Plymouth Elder William Brewster ap- 
pears to have had only a Great Bible, yet soon Roger Wil- 

Hams, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, the New Lights, 
Wesley, all made their teachings comport with the King 
James text. The heirs o Robert Barker went on printing 
it as sole owners of the right for a hundred years. At last 
it suited nearly all the Protestant sects. In the United States 
it has been the standby not only of "the Bible belt" but 
of all other regions. The Mormons took it with them to 
Utah. The Christian Science Church leans on it for lesson- 
sermons. Negro preachers love it. Untold millions could 
unite in their respect for the King James words when 
they could unite on almost nothing else. 

Although Shakespeare did not quote from it, the King 
James version won praise from the great modern dramatist 
who himself loved fire and sparkle and debate upon all 
sides of a question. Writing of wide Bible distribution, 
Bernard Shaw declared: 

In all these instances the Bible means the translation author- 
ized by King James the First. . . . The translation was ex- 
traordinarily well done because to the translators what they 
were translating was not merely a curious collection of ancient 
books written by different authors in different stages of cul- 
ture, but the word of God divinely revealed through His chosen 
and expressly inspired scribes. In this conviction they carried 
out their work with boundless reverence and care and achieved 
a beautifully artistic result. It did not seem possible to them 
that they could better the original texts; for who could im- 
prove on God's own style? And as they could not conceive that 
divine revelation could conflict with what they believed to be 
the truths of their religion, they did not hesitate to translate a 
negative by a positive where such a conflict seemed to arise, as 
they could hardly trust their own fallible knowledge of ancient 
Hebrew when it contradicted the very foundations of their 
faith, nor could they doubt that God would, as they prayed, 
take care that His message should not suffer corruption at their 
hands. In this state of exaltation they made a translation so 
magnificent that to this day the common human Britisher or 
citizen of the United States of North America accepts and wor- 


ships it as a single book by a single author, the book being the 
Book of Books and the author being God. 

Today even the godless admire the splendors of the 
King James words, retaining them in their thoughts and 
on their lips as if they expressed truisms or slogans, or 
charming, sometimes comic aspects of the outworn. Thus 
they persist in our common language, and for words of 
power this may be enough; the Spirit that giveth life and 
the gospel, the good news that saves, each must find for 
himself. And so when some say that Jesus or the prophets 
must have meant this or that, perhaps we should presume 
to say in answer only that a statement means this or that 
to us. Read into the Bible what you wish; your gospel, or 
good news, may well be private. Can you rightly impose 
it on any other? We may enjoy the meanings that we 
find without thinking our meanings true for all, for thus 
all readers become priests unto God, and honor and keep 
faith with the learned men. 

Let us end with a passage from a letter dealing with 
divinity, the study of divine truth, written by Dr. John 
Rainolds and apparently unpublished until now. In this 
of his papers the father of the 1611 Bible wrote that the 
Gospel of John and the Epistle to the Romans are "the 
sum of the New Testament; Isaiah the prophet and the 
Psalms of David the sum of the Old." Then he added: 

Divinity, the knowledge of God, is the water of life. . . . God 
forbid that you should think that divinity consists of words, as 
a wood doth of trees. . . . True divinity cannot be learned 
unless we frame our hearts and minds wholly to it. ... The 
knowledge of God must be learned of God. . . . We have to 
use two means, prayers and the reading of the holy Scriptures, 
prayers for ourselves to talk with God, and reading to hear 
God talk with us. . . . We must diligently give ourselves to 
reading and meditation of the holy Scriptures. ... I pray God 
you may. 


The Translators 


Old Testament 
(Genesis Kings, inclusive) 

Lancelot Andrewes 
William Bedwell 
Francis Burleigh 
Richard Clarke 
Jeffrey King 
John Lay field 
John Overall 
Hadrian Saravia 
Robert Tigue 
Richard Thomson 


Old Testament 
(Isaiah Malachi, inclusive) 

Richard Brett 

Daniel Featley (born Fair- 

John Harding 
Thomas Holland 
Richard Kilby 
John Rainolds 
Miles Smith 

New Testament 
(Romans Jude, inclusive) 

William Barlow 
William Dakins 
Roger Fenton 
Ralph Hutchinson 
Michael Rabbett 
Thomas Sanderson 
John Spenser 

New Testament 
(Gospels, Acts, Apocalypse) 

George Abbot 
John Aglionby 
John Harmer 
Leonard Hutton 
John Perin 
Thomas Ravis 
Henry Savile 
Giles Thomson 


Old Testament Apocrypha 

(I Chronicles Ecclesiastes, In- 

Roger Andrewes John Bols 

Andrew Bing William Branthwaite 

Laurence Chaderton Andrew Downes 

Francis Dillingham John Duport 

Thomas Harrison Jeremy Radcliffe 

Edward Lively Samuel Ward 

John Richardson Robert Ward 
Robert Spalding 

Also Thomas Bilson, editor 

These are the 48 scholars listed by the British Museum. To 
them should be added: 

William Thorne, credentials supplied in this book. 
Richard Edes, named for the Greek group at Oxford, but 

dying early, may be added. Also, 
George Ryves, an overseer of the translation at Oxford. 
William Eyre, James Montague, Arthur Lake, Nicholas 

Love, Ralph Ravens, and Thomas Sparke appear on 

other lists or are mentioned by some authorities as 

taking part in the work. 


Comparative ^Readings 


Coverdale. She returned unto him about even tide, and be- 
hold, she had broken off a leaf of an olive tree and bare it in her 
nebb. Then Noah perceived that the waters were abated upon 
the earth. 

Geneva. And the dove came to him in the evening, and lo, 
in her mouth was an olive leaf that she had plucked, Whereby 
Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. 

King James. And the dove came in to him in the evening, 
and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah 
knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. 

EXODUS 13:21 

Coverdale. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar 
of a cloud, to lead them the right way, and by night in a pillar 
of fire, that he might show the light to walk both by day and 

Geneva. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar 
of a cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire 
to give them light, that they might go both by day and by night. 

King James. And the Lord went before them by day in a 
pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar 
of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. 

LEVITICUS li:21, 22 

Coverdale. Yet these shall ye eat of the fowls that creep and 
go upon four feet; even those that have no knees above upon 

the legs, to hop withal upon the earth. Of these may ye eat, as 
there Is the arbe with his kind, and the selaam with his kind, 
and the hargol with his kind, and the hagab with his kind. 

Geneva. . . . Of them shall ye eat these, the grasshopper 
after his kind, the solcan after his kind, the hargol after his 
kind, and the hegab 1 after his kind. 

King James. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping 
thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their 
feet, to leap withal upon the earth; 

Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and 
the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and 
the grasshopper after his kind. 

Revised Standard Version. Yet among the winged insects that 
go on all fours you may eat those which have legs above their 
feet, with which to leap on the earth. 

Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the 
bald locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its 
kind, and the grasshopper according to its kind. 


Coverdale. Then said the Lord unto Moses, Make thee a 
brasen serpent, and set it up for a token. Whosoever is bitten, 
and looketh, upon it, shall live. 

Geneva. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery 
serpent, aad set it up for a sign, that as many as are bitten shall 
look upon it and live. 

King James. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a 
fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, 
that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 


Coverdale. When a man hath newly taken a wife, he shall not 
go out a warfare, neither shall he be charged withal. He shall 
be free in his house one year long, that he may be merry with 
his wife which he hath taken. 

Geneva. When a man taketh a new wife, he shall not go a 
warfare, neither shall he be charged with any business, but 

1 The strange names were attempts to give in English letters the exact 
Hebrew terms. 


shall be free at home one year, and rejoice with his wife which 
he hath taken. 

King James. When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not 
go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: 
but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his 
wife which he hath taken. 

JOSHUA 6: go 

Coverdale. Then made the people a great shout and the 
priests blew the trumpets (for when the people heard the noise 
of the trumpets, they made a great shout) and the walls fell, 
and the people climbed up in to the city, every man straight 
before him. Thus they won the city. 

Geneva. So the people shouted when they had blown 
trumpets; or when the people had heard the sound of the 
trumpet, they shouted with a great shout and the wall fell 
down flat; so the people went up into the city, every man 
straight before him, and they took the city. 

King James. So the people shouted when the priests blew 
with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard 
the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great 
shout, that the wall fell down fiat, so that the people went up 
into the city, every man straight before him, and they took 
the city. 

JUDGES 5:55-27 

Bishops' Bible. He asked water and she gave him milk, she 
brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the 
nail, and her right hand to the smith's hammer; with the ham- 
mer smote she Sisera and smote his head, wounded him and 
pierced liis temples. He bowed him down at her feet, he fell 
down, and lay still at her feet, he bowed himself and fell, and 
when he had sunk down, he lay there destroyed. 

King James. He asked water, and she gave him milk: she 
brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 

She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the work- 
men's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she 
smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through 
his temples. 


At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down. At her feet he 
bowed, lie fell; where he bowed, there he fell down dead. 

Jewish Bible of 1917. Water he asked, milk she gave him. 
In a lordly bowl she brought him curd. Her hand she put to 
the tent pin, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer . . . 
At her feet he sunk, he fell, he lay; at her feet he sunk, he fell; 
where he sunk, there he fell down dead. 

JUDGES 15:16 

Coverdale. And Samson said: With an old ass's cheek bone, 
yea even with the cheek bone of an ass have I slain a thousand 

Geneva. Then Samson said, With the jaw of an ass are heaps 
upon heaps; with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. 

King James. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, 
heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thou- 
sand men. 

i KINGS 10:4, 5 

Coverdale. When the queen of rich Arabia saw all the wisdom 
of Solomon and the house that he had builded, and the meats 
of his table, and the dwellings of his servants, and the offices of 
his ministers and their garments, and his butlers, and the burnt 
offerings which he offered in the house of the Lord, she won- 
dered accordingly. 

Geneva. Then the queen of Sheba saw all Solomon's wisdom, 
and the houses he had built, 

And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and 
the order of his ministers, and their apparel, and his drinking 
vessels, and his burnt offerings that he offered in the house of 
the Lord, and she was greatly astonied. 

King James. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solo- 
mon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, 

And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, 
and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his 
cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house 
of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her. 


Geneva. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and 
the glory, and the victory, and the praise: for all that is in the 
heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, 
and thou art excellent as head above all. 

King James. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, 
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in 
the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, 
O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. 


Coverdale. . . . Appointed the singers unto the Lord, and 
them that gave praise in the beauty of holiness, to go before the 
harnessed men, and to say, O give thanks unto the Lord, for his 
mercy endureth for ever. 

Geneva. . . . Praise him that is in the beautiful sanctuary 
. . . Praise ye the Lord, for his mercy lasteth for ever. 

King James. ... he appointed singers unto the Lord, and 
that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out be- 
fore the army, and to say, Praise the Lord, for his mercy en- 
dureth for ever. 

JOB 14:1, 2 

Coverdale. Man that is born of a woman hath but a short 
time to live and is full of diverse miseries. He cometh up and 
falleth away like a flower . . . 

Geneva. Man that is born of a woman is for short continu- 
ance and full of trouble. He shooteth forth as a flower, and is 
cut down . , . 

King James. Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and 
full of trouble. 

He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down . . 

JOB 42:5 

Coverdale. I have given diligent ear unto thee, and now I 
see ye with mine eyes. 

Geneva, Bishops', and King James. I have heard of thee by 
the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. 

Douay. With the hearing of the ear I have heard thee, and 
now mine eye seeth thee. 
Revised Standard Version. 

I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, 
but now mine eye sees thee. 


Coverdale. After thou haddest for a season made him lower 
than the angels, thou crownedst him with honor and glory. 

Geneva. For thou hast made him a little lower than God, and 
crowned him with glory and worship. 

King James. For thou hast made him a little lower than the 
angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. 


Geneva. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He 
maketh me to rest in green pasture, and leadeth me by the still 
waters. . . . Doubtless kindness and mercy shall follow me all 
the days of my life, and I shall remain a long season in the 
house of the Lord. 

Bishops'. God is my shepherd, therefore I can lack nothing. 
He will cause me to repose myself in pasture full of grass, and 
he will lead me unto calm waters. He will convert my soul . . . 
Truly felicity and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of God for a long time. 

King James. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me 
beside the still waters. 

He restoreth my soul . . . 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my 
life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. 

PSALM 46:1 

Coverdale. In our trouble and adversity, we have found that 
God is our refuge, our strength and help. 

Geneva. God is our hope and strength and help in troubles, 
ready to be found. 

King James. God is our refuge and strength, a very present 
help in trouble. 

PSALM 91:1, 2 

Geneva. Whoso dwelleth in the secret place o the most High 
shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 

I will say unto the Lord, O mine hope and my fortress; he is 
my God, in him will I trust 

Bishops'. Whosoever sitteth under the cover of the Most 
High, he shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty . . . 

Douay. He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High shall 
abide under the protection of the God of Jacob . . . 

King James. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most 
High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 

I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my 
God; in him will I trust. 

PSALM 121:1 

Geneva. I will lift mine eyes unto the mountains, from 
whence my help shall come. 

King James. I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from 
whence corneth my help. 

Jewish Bible of 1917. 1 will lift up mine eyes unto the moun- 
tains. From whence shall my help come? 

PSALM 137:1, 2 

Cover dale. By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, 
when we remembered Zion. As for our harps, we hanged them 
up upon the trees that are therein. 

Geneva. By the rivers of Babel we sate, and there we wept, 
when we remembered Zion. 

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 

King James. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, 
we wept, when we remembered Zion. 

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst 

PSALM 139:7-11 

Coverdale. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither 
shall I flee from thy presence? If I climb up in to heaven, thou 
art there. If I go down to hell, thou art there also. If I take the 
wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost part of the 

sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall 
hold me. If I say, peradventure the darkness shall cover me, 
then shall my night be turned to day. 

Geneva. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall 
I flee from thy presence? 

If I ascend into heaven, thou art there; if I lie down in hell, 
thou art there. 

Let me take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter- 
most parts of the sea; 

Yet thither shall thine hand lead me, and thy right hand 
hold me. 

If I say, yet the darkness shall hide me, even the night shall 
be light about me. 

Bishops'. Whither can I go from thy spirit, or whither can 
I flee from thy face? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; 
if I lay me down in hell, thou art there also. If I take the wings 
of the morning, and go to dwell in the uttermost parts of the 
sea, even there also thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand 
shall hold me. And if I say peradventure the darkness shall 
cover me; and the night shall be day for me. 

King James. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither 
shall I flee from thy presence? 

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed 
in hell, behold, thou art there. 

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter- 
most parts of the sea; 

Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall 
hold me. 

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night 
shall be light about me. 


Bishops'. 2 For lo the winter is now passed, the rain is away 
and gone, the flowers are come up in the field, the time of the 
birds' singing is come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard 
in our land . . . 

Geneva. For behold, winter is passed, the rain is changed 
and is gone away. 

a ln the Bishops' Bible the book is called "The Ballet of Ballets of 

The flowers appear in the earth, the time of the singing of 
birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. 

The fig tree hath brought forth her young figs, and the vines 
with their small grapes have cast a savor. 

King James. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and 

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of 
birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with 
the tender grape give a good smell. . . . 


Goverdale. For unto us a child shall be born, and unto us a 
son shall be given. Upon his shoulder shall the government be, 
and he shall be called by his own name: The wondrous giver of 
counsel, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of 

Bishops'. For unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is 
given, upon his shoulder shall the rule be, and he is called with 
his own name, wonderful the giver of counsel, the mighty God, 
the everlasting Father, the prince of peace. 

Douay. For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, 
and the government is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be 
called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the mighty, the Father of 
the world to come, the prince of peace. 

King James. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is 
given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and 
his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty 
God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 

ISAIAH 52:7 

Goverdale. O how beautiful are the feet of the ambassador 
that bringeth the message from the mountain and proclaimeth 
peace, that bringeth the good tidings and preacheth health, 
that saith unto Zion, Thy God is the king. 

Geneva. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of 
him that declareth and publisheth peace, declareth good tid- 
ings, and publisheth salvation, saying unto Zion, Thy God 

I 1 94] 

Douay. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of 
him that bringeth good tidings and that preacheth peace, of 
him that showeth forth good, that preacheth salvation, that 
saith to Zion, Thy God shall be king, 

King James, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet 
of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that 
bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that 
saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 

ISAIAH 60:19 

Bishops'. The sun shall never be thy daylight, and the light 
of thy moon shall never shine unto thee; but the Lord shall be 
thine everlasting light; and thy God shall be thy glory. 

King James. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; 
neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but 
the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God 
thy glory. 

ISAIAH 65:24 

Coverdale and Bishops'. And it shall be that or ever they call, 
I will answer them, and while they are but thinking how to 
speak, I will hear them. 

King James* And it shall come to pass, that before they call, 
I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear, 

JOEL 3:14 

Coverdale. In the valley appointed there shall be many, many 
people, for the day of the Lord is nigh in the valley appointed. 

Geneva. O Multitude, O Multitude, come into the valley of 
threshing, for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of 

Bishops'. O people, people, come into the valley of final 
judgment, for the day of the Lord is at hand in the valley of 
final judgment. 

Douay. Nations, nations, in the valley of destruction, for the 
day of the Lord is near in the valley of destruction. 

King James. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: 
for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. 


MJCAH 6:8 

Geneva. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, and 
what the Lord requireth of thee; firstly to do justly, and to have 
mercy, and to humble thy self to walk with thy God. 

King James. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; 
and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to 
love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? 


Geneva. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he 
will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will quiet him- 
self in his love; he will rejoice over thee with joy. 

King James. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; 
he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his 
love, he will joy over thee with singing. 


Geneva. In that day shall there be written upon the bridles 
of horses, The holiness unto the Lord. 

King James. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the 
horses, Holiness unto the Lord. . . . 


Coverdale. ... Ye shall go forth and multiply as the fat 

Geneva. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of 
righteousness arise, and health shall be under his wings, and ye 
shall go forth and grow up as fat calves. 

Bishops'. But to you that fear my name shall that son of 
righteousness arise, and health shall be under his wings, and ye 
shall go forth and skip like fat calves. 

King James. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun 
of righteousness arise with healing in Ms wings, and ye shall go 
forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 


Tyndale. If the salt have lost his saltness, what can be salted 

King James. If the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall 
it be salted? 


Tyndale. When ye pray, babble not much, as the heathen 
do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much bab- 
blings sake. 

King James. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as 
the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their 
much speaking. 


Bishops'. Let thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as well 
in earth as it is in heaven. 

King James. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, 
as it is in heaven. 


Tyndale. Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and the right- 
eousness thereof. 

King James. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his 
righteousness . . . 


Tyndale. Possess not gold, nor silver, nor brass in your girdles. 
King James. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your 

LUKE 2:14 

Goverdale. Glory be unto God on high, and peace upon earth, 
and unto men a good will. 

Geneva. Glory be to God in the high heavens, and peace in 
earth, and towards men good will. 

Bishops'. Glory to God in the highest and peace on the earth, 
and among men a good will. 

Douay. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to 
men of good will. 

King James. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, 
good will toward men. 

LUKE 6:32 

Tyndale. . . . for the very sinners love their lovers. 

King James. . . . for sinners also love those that love them. 

LUKE 11:34 

Coverdale. The eye is the light of the body. 

Geneva. The light o the body is the eye. 

Bishops'. The candle of the body is the eye. 

Douay. The light of the body is the eye. If thy eye be single, 
thy whole body will be lightsome; but if it be evil thy body 
also will be darksome. 

King James. The light of the body is the eye; therefore when 
thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when 
thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 

LUKE 22:56 

Tyndale. And one of the wenches beheld him as he sat by 
the fire and set good eyesight on him. 

King James. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the 
fire, and earnestly looked upon him . . , 

JOHN 14:2 

Coverdale. In my Father's house are many dwellings. 

Geneva and Bishops'. In my Father's house are many dwelling 

Douay. In my Father's house there are many mansions. 

King James. In my Father's house are many mansions. 

Revised Standard Version. In rny Father's house are many 

JOHN 14:27 

Tyndale. . . . Let not your heart be grieved, neither fear ye. 
King James. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither 
let it be afraid. 

JOHN 15:12 

Tyndale. . . . That ye love together ... 
King James. . . . That ye love one another . . . 

JOHN 15:13 

Tyndale. Greater love than this hath no man, than that a 
man bestow his life for his friends. 


Coverdale. No man hath greater love than to set his life for 
his friend. 

Bishops'. Greater love than this hath no man, when any man 
bestoweth his life for his friends. 

King James. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man 
lay down his life for his friends. 


Bishops'. Charity suffereth long and is courteous, charity en- 
vieth not, charity doth not frowardly, swelleth not. 

King James. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity 
envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. 


Tyndale. For as the afflictions of Christ are plenteous in us, 
even so is our consolation plenteous by Christ. 

King James. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so 
our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 


Geneva. But we all behold as in a mirror the glory of the 
Lord with open face, and are changed into the same image from 
glory to glory as by the spirit of the Lord. 

King James. But we all, with open face beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image 
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 


Tyndale. Therefore seeing that we have such an office, even 
as mercy is come on us, we faint not; but have cast from us the 
cloaks of unhonesty, and walk not in craftiness, neither corrupt 
we the word of God; but walk in the truth, and report our- 
selves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 

King James. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we 
have received mercy, we faint not; 

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not 
walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceit- 
fully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves 
to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 



Bishops'. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, 
who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the 
earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the 
things which are therein, that there should be no longer time. 

King James. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, 
who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the 
earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the 
things which are therein, that there should be time no longer. 

Revised Standard Version, And swore by him who lives for 
ever and ever, who created heaven, and what is in it, the earth 
and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there should 
be no more delay. 


Geneva, And I John saw the holy city New Jerusalem come 
down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride trimmed for 
her husband. 

Bishops'. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, come 
down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride garnished 
for her husband. 

King James. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, 
coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride 
adorned for her husband. 


Tyndale. ... for the old things are gone. 

King James. ... for the former things are passed away. 


Tyndale? Bishops' and King James. And the Spirit and the 
bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let 
him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the 
water of life freely. 

Revised Standard Version. The Spirit and the Bride say, 
"Come." And let him who hears say, "Come." And let him who 
is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life with- 
out price. 




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Abbot, George, 50, 53, 55, 69, 81, 
82, 85, 91, 92, 93, 104, 142-145, 
148, 149, 151-154, 157, 158, 160, 
162, 163, 164 

Aglionby, John, 75, 76, 82, 85, 155 

Ainsworth, Henry, 139, 140 

Alexandria, 176 

All Souls' College, 156 

America, 35, 41, 54, 93, 100, 129 

Andrewes, Lancelot, 12, 13, 16, 

*7* l8 SO' 34^ 37* 4 1 * 5*' 53> 
56, 60, 69, 70, 72, 73, 78, 84, 
90-93, 98, 127, 133, 136, 142- 
*45> *5S> 1 5&* *S9> *6 *% 
168, 173 

Andrewes, Roger, 56, 164 

Anne, Queen, 3, 79, 82, 87, 105, 
156, 160 

Antwerp Polyglot, 77 

Apocrypha, 30, 61, 77, 111, 112, 

Aristotle, 23 

Arminianism, 40, 42, 141, 156 

Armlnians, 58, 142 

Arminius, Jacobus, 42 

Authorization, 146 

Bacon, Francis, 3, 17, 56, 93, 127 

Balliol College, 53 

Baptism, 2, 94 

Bancroft, Richard, 4, 5, 6, n, 12, 

*S *9> 34 4> 47* 7' 7 8 93- 94 

97, 103-104, 106, 128, 133, 141, 
143, 164 

Barker, Christopher, 134 
Barker, Robert, no, 114, 134, 

147, 182 
Barking, 16, 17 
Barlow, William, 4, 12, 42, 44, 69, 

90, 91, 92, 95, 99, 155 
Beaumont, Francis, 46, 47 
Bedwell, William, 30, 40, 41, 102, 


"Begots," 179 

Beza, Theodore, 77, 114, 115 

Bezoar stone, 61 

"Bible belt," 182 

Bilson, Thomas, 12, 72, 75, 76, 
85, 96, 97, 106, 117, 119-120, 
122-123, 127, 128, 132, 135, 140, 

152, 153' *55* 175 
Bing, Andrew, 56, 60, 135, 166 
Birkhead, 127 
Bishops, 47, 95, 96, 140 
Bishops* Bible, 70, 71, 108, 126, 

146, 176 

Blake, William, 169 
Bodleian Library, 52, 83, 99, 120 
Bodley, Sir Thomas, 52, 83 
Boel, Cornelius, 135 
Bois, John, 61, 64, 69, 75, 77, no, 

112, 114-121, 125-127, 130, 131, 

141, 143, 150-152, 155, 164, 166 
Boswell, James, 181 
Bradford, William, 104 
Branthwaite, William, 61, 62, us 
Brasenose College, 51, 99 
Brett, Richard, 46, 165 


Brewster, William, 100, 104, 140, 


Broughton, Hugh, 9, 76, 106, 107 
Browne, Sir Thomas, 169 
Brownists, 29, 34, 141 
"Breeches" Bible, 9 
"Bugs" Bible, 9 
Bunyan, John, 181 
Burleigh, Francis, 30 
Burghley, Lord (see also Cecil, 

William), 50, 51 
Burton, Robert, 47, 75, 138 

Calvin, 9, 84, 114, 141, i49 l6 5 

Calvinism, 5 

Calvinists, 34 

Cambridge, 6, 8, 13, 14, 17, 26, 
30, 32, 35, 39 4> 42* 5 6 > 5 8 > 
60-62, 64-66, 68, 69, 98, 103, 
110-113, 115, 123, 163, 169 

Cambridge groups, 56-68 

Campion, Thomas, 56, 109 

Canterbury, 20, 41, 143 

Cape Cod, 156 

Carr, Robert, 152-154 

Cartwright, Thomas, 6, 51 

Casaubon, Isaac, 105 

Catholics (see also Roman Cath- 
olics), 87 

Cecil, Robert, n, 39, 88, 93 

Cecil, William, 50, 101 

Chaderton, Laurence, 3, 6, 26-28, 
32, 56, 58, 69, 140, 141, 165, 166 

Chapman, George, 46, 109 

"Charity," 125 

Charles I, 160, 161, 163, 165, 166 

Charles II, 24 

Charles V, Emporor, 8 

Charles, Prince, 79 

Corpus Christi College, 22, 23, 25, 
43, 46, 80, 99, 100, 155 

Christ's College, Cambridge, 26, 
58, 163 

Christchurch College, 46, 50, 51, 
75, 80, 95, 138, 164 

Church doctrines, 4, 28, 63, 140 

Church of England, 7, 10, 28, 29, 

49, 53, 60, 64, 91, 92, 139, H3 

149, 164, 165 
Church of Rome, 5, 8, 22, 128, 

141, 149, 165 

Christian Science Church, 182 
Clarke, Richard, 30, 41 
Coke, Sir Edward, 5, 89, 142 
Complutensian Polyglot, 77 
Cost of translation, 13, 14, 134 
Coverdale Bible, 71, 176 
Coverdale, Miles, 9 
Cranmer, George, 44 
Cromwell, Oliver, 181 
Cross, sign of, 94 
Croydon, 156-, 164 

Dakins, William, 43, 99 
Daniel, Samuel, 107 
Dead Sea Scrolls, 77, 123 
DeFoe, Daniel, 181 
Dekker, Thomas, 17, 31 
De Quincey, Thomas, 179 
Devereux, Robert (Third Earl of 

Essex), 98, 152, 153 
Digby, Sir Everard, 89 
Digges, Sir Dudley, 162 
Dillingham, Francis, 56, 58-60, 

66, 69, 105, 159, 166 
Divine right of kings, 90 
Divorce, 152 
Doddridge, 63 
Donne, John, 46, 138, 139 
Dort, Synod of, 140 
Douay Bible, 128 
Downes, Andrew, 61, 63, 64, 69, 

77, 1 08, no, 111, ii3" 1]L 9 12 5 

127, 129, iso^ l6 4 
Drama, 23, 24, 47 
Dray ton, Michael, 107 
Drusitus, John, 14 
Duport, John, 61, 97, *n> 15$ 

East India Company, 105, 157 
Edes, Richard, 12, 50, 74, 95 
Edgerton, Sir Thomas, 44 
Egmont, Count, 34 
Eliot, T. S., 16, 19 

Elizabeth, Princess, 8g, 151 
Elizabeth I, 5, 7, 11, 14, 18-20, 23, 

24, 28, 42, 43, 52, 58, 73, 75, 

105, 134, 152 

Emmanuel College, 28, 61, 63, 103 
Erasmus, 8 
Essex, Second Earl of, 33, 43, 89, 


Evelyn, John, 157 
Exeter College, 47, 99 
Exeter, Earl of, 39 
Eyre, William, 76, 103 

Fairclough, Daniel, 46, 76 
Fawkes, Guy, 88-91, 93 
Featley, Daniel, see Fairclough 

Fen ton, Roger, 43, 44 
Fletcher, John, 56 
Fox, George, 181 
Freedom of the press, 6 
Fuller, Thomas, 19, 20, 32 

Garnet, Henry, 90 

Geneva, 71 

Geneva Bible, x, 7, 9, 10, 26, 57, 

*39> l6 S 
Goa, 92 

Globe Theater, 168 
Gooclspeed, Edgar J. 178 

Great Bible, 9, 71, 1 81 

Greek group: at Cambridge, 61- 

68; at Oxford, 50-55; at West- 
minster,, 42-45 

Greene, Robert, 56 

Greville, Sir Fulke, 31 

Guernsey, 34, 35 

Guiklford, 157 

Gunpowder Plot, 88-90, 93 

Hampton Court, 1-3, 9, 12, 16, 
42, 43, 50, 69, 76, 83, 94, 95, 
99, 104, 146, 155, 165, 178 

Handel, 124, 125 

Harding, John, 13, 14, 46, 85, 103 

Hardy, Thomas, 171 

Harington, Sir John, 7 

Harkins, Peter, 157 

Harrner, John, 50, no, 111, 114, 


Harrison, Thomas, 56, 60, 164 
Harwood, Dr., 178 
Hatfield, 101 
Havens, Ralph, 50 
"He" Bible, 134 
Hebrew group: at Cambridge, 

56-60, 69; at Oxford, 46-50, 68; 

at Westminster, 30-42, 72, 98 
Henrietta Maria, Queen, 160 
Henry, Prince, 4, 82, 151 
Henry VIII, i, 2, 8, 9, 83, 178 
Herbert, Sir Philip, 78 
Heresy, 92, 93, 142 
Holland, 34, 39, 40, 92, 165 
Holland, Thomas, 46, 47, 85, 155 
Hooker, Richard, 22, 35, 44, 52 
House of Commons, 85 
House of Lords, 88, 89, 107, 162 
Howard, Frances, 151 
Howler, the king's hound, 78 
Hudson, Henry, 102, 105 
Hutchinson, Ralph, 43, 74, 100, 

Hutton, Leonard, 75, 76, 94, 95, 

138, 164 

Isaacson, Henry, 19 

Jacob, Henry, 139, 140 

James I, i, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 20, 27, 
34, 43, 52, 54, 63, 64, 75-78, 
80, 82-84, 87, 89, 90, 101, 109, 
112, 133, 142, 143, 151-154' *5 6 
159, 168, 176, 177 

James II, 90 

Jesuits, 90 

Jesus College, 61, 164 

Jones, Inigo, 3 

Jonson, Ben, 32, 79, 98* 101, 102, 
104, 167 

Keats, John, 169 

Kilby, Richard, 46, 47, 103, 137, 

155* 156 
Killigrew, Sir Robert, 40 

King, Jeffrey, 30, 98, 164 
Knewstubs, John, 7 
Knox, John, 9 

Lake, Arthur, 76, 103, 104, no, 

111, 114 

Lake, Thomas, 72, 74, 93, 103 
Lambeth Palace, in, 144 
Laud, William, 149, 150, 160, 162, 

163, 165, 166 
Layfield, John, 30, 35-39, 4*> 6 9* 

*33* 156 
Legate, Bartholomew, 92, 93, 142- 

145* 47 
Leicester, Earl of, in 

Leyden, 34, 41, 140, 155 

Lincoln College, 48 

Lively, Edward, 13, 14, 15. 5 6 > 

69, 73, 74, 106, 166 
Lodge, Thomas, 56 
Love, Nicholas, 72 
Low Countries (see also Holland), 

London, 2, 18, 25, 32, 34, 40, 42, 

87, 102, 103, 105, 110 
Luther, Martin, 8, 9 
Lyly, John, 23, 46, 47 

Magdalen College, 14, 64, 81, 103, 


Mather, Cotton, 182 
Mather, Increase, i8a 
Marginal notes, 10, 70 
Marlowe, Christopher, 56, 167 
Marriage, 4, 58, 65 
Mary, Queen of Scots, 5 
Matthew Bible, 9, 71, 176 
Mennonites, 92 
Mermaid Tavern, 168 
Merton College, 52, 74, 99 
Monteagle, Lord Chamberlain, 


Montague, James, 76 
Montague, Richard, 42 

Mormons, 182 
Mildmay, Sir Walter, 28 
Millenary Petition, 2 
Milton, John, 163, 179-181 

Nash, Thomas, 56 

Neale, Bishop of Durham, 159 

New College, 21, 72, 96, 99, ui, 


New England, 157 
New Lights, 182 
Newmarket, 10, 79, 98 

Obscenities, 179 
Orange, Prince of, 34 
Oriel College, 99 

Overall, John, 12, 30-34, 39, 41, 
64, 69, 89, 90, 104, 105, 141, 155, 

Overbury, Sir Thomas, 153 

Oxford, 13, 14, 21-24, 34, 39, 43, 
46-48, 50, 53, 58, 68, 7*, 74-76, 
94, 111, 112, 115, 123, 137, 138, 
155, 156, 164, 169; King's visit 
to, 80-86; Oxford translators' 
groups, 46-68 

Parliament, 27, 85, 87, 88, 101, 

Paul's Cross, 27, 44, 88, 90, 91, 


Paul's Walk, 31, 105 
Payment of translators, 113, 114 
Pembroke College, 16, 17, 19 
Perm, John, 50, 156 
Percy, Thomas, 88, 89 
Philip III of Spain, 89 
Pilgrims, 29, 34, 100, 104, 139-141, 


Plague, 2, 12, 103, 160 
Plymouth, Mass., 34, 100, 164, 181 
Predestination, 42, 141 
Preface, 129, 145, 148, 173-177 
Presbyterianism, 5 
Presbyters, 96, 97 


Prynne, 40 

Ptolemy Philadelphus, 175 

Puerto Rico, 36, 37 

Puritans, 1-4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 
20, 24-28, 42, 43, 50, 53, 95-97, 
106, 108, 134, 141, 144, 149, 
153, 156, 162-164 

Queen's College, 75, 99 

Rabbett, Michael, 43, 61 
Radcliffe, Jeremy, 61, 155 
Rainolds, John, i, 3-7, 9, n, 12, 
22-25, 46, 47, 49, 51, 69, 83-86, 
99, 128, 132, 155, 170, 183 
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 5, 46, 108 
Ravens, Ralph, 50, 156 
Ravis, Thomas, 12, 50, 51, 55, 69, 

73' 75 9> 93^ 95 9 8 * 10 4> *55 
Reade, Simon, 105 

Richardson, John, 56-58, 141, 159 

Roman Catholics, 2, 29 

Rome, Church of, 83, 88, 91, 92 

Roundheads, 181 

Royston, 10, 78 

Russia, 55 

Ryves, George, 72, 83 

Sabbath sports, 156 

St. Clement Banes, 39 

St. Chrysostom, 77, 150, 151 

St. John's College, 42, 60, 62, 64, 

75, 112 

St. Mary's College, 155 
St. Paul, 45, 66, 115 
St. Paul's, 27, 30, 31, 34, 61, 73, 

89, 90, 134, 139, 155 
St. Peter, 84 
Salisbury, Earl of, see Cecil, 


Sanderson, Thomas, 43 
Savile, Sir Henry, 50, 51, 55, 69, 

74, 77, 99, 115, 133, 150, 152, 

Saravia, Hadrian, 30, 34, 35, 41, 
47, 52, 69 

Scaliger, Joseph Justus, 40, 155 

Scottish bishops, 143 

Selby, Sir John, 105 

Selden, John, 76 

Servants, treatment of, 27 

Seventy Translators of Alexan- 
dria, 175, 176, 178 

Shakespeare, 3, 32, 85, 107-109, 

Shaw, Bernard, 182 

"She" Bible, 135 

Sidney, Sir Philip, 46 

Smith, Captain John, 105 

Smith, Miles, 46, 49, 69, 96, 117, 
120, 122-123, 124, 127-129, 132, 
133^ 135* 136, *43> *45> 148-150, 
155> *59> 168, 173-177 

Smithfield, 142, 147 

Somerset, Earl of, 154 

Somerset, Lady, 153 

Sophia, Princess, 99 

Sorbonne, 157, 158 

Spalding, Robert, 56, 159 

Sparke, Thomas, 6, 76 

Stage plays, 23, 24 

Stationers* Hall, no, in, 113- 
115, 119-120, 122-123, 126, 127, 
129, 132, 150, 178 

Stirling Castle, 8 

Spenser, Edmund, 16, 56 

Spenser, John, 43, 44, 101, 155 

Strachey, Lytton, 169 

Surplices, 96 

Thames, 102 

Theobalds, 101 

Thomson, Giles, 50, 52, 85, 148 

Thomson, James, 180 

Thomson, Richard, 30, 39, 40-42, 

58, 69, 141, 155 
Thorne, William, 21, 46, 75 
Tiger's Head, 134, 147, 178 
Tigue, Robert, 30 
Title page, 135 

Tower of London, 10, 23, 105, 

108, 153 

"Treacle" Bible, 10 
Trinity College, 14, 30, 35, 40, 60, 


Tyndale, William, 8, 9, 11, 27, 
71, 126, 176-178 

Unitarians, 142 

United States, 182 

University College, 53, 55, 81, 99 

Ussher, James, 103 

Utah, 182 

Verb endings, 179 
Vere, Lady Susan, 78 
Victoria, Queen, 151 
Villiers, George, 154, 162 
Virginia, 97, 100, 105 
Vulgate, 7, 9, 77 

WPA, 167 

Walker, Anthony, 112 
Walloon Confession, 34 
Walsingham, Sir Francis, 16, 18, 

23, 28, 134 
Walton, Isaac, 35 

Ward, Robert, 61, 111 

Ward, Samuel, 61, 62, 69, 111, 

141, 165, 166 
Wesley, John, 182 
West Indies, 35, 156 
Westminster, 13, 14, 16, 19, 30, 

3 2 > 34> 35> 39 4 1 * 42, 72, 9* 

98, 102, 103, 110, 112, 115, 123 

Westminster groups, 30-45, 68 
Westminster Abbey, 149, 151, 161 
Whitehead, Alfred North, 179 
Whitgift, John, 3, 5, 12, 13, 18, 

20, 42, 51, 65, 143, 158 
Whitchurch Bible, 71 
Whitehall, 12, 78, 79, 87, 90, 104, 

107, 137, 142 
Whittaker, Dr., 60 
Whittingham, William, g 
Windsor, 152 
Witchcraft, 54, 104-105 
Wolsey, Cardinal, i, 50 
Worthington, Dr. Thomas, 128 
Wotton, Sir Henry, 46 
Wycliffe, 7, 178 

Zouache, Edward, 157 
Zwingli, 9